TSA Shuts Down New Private Screening Contractors
The Screening Partnership Program, which is a program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private contractors who wear TSA-like uniforms, meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight, was shut down on Friday by TSA chief John Pistole because he “does not see an advantage to the program.”
“I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time,” Pistole said.
Pistole said he has been reviewing TSA policies with the goal of helping the agency “evolve into a more agile, high-performance organization.”
Rep. John Mica, a Republican from Florida, who has said that he intends to launch an investigation into the matter, issued this statement in response:
“It’s unimaginable that TSA would suspend the most successfully performing passenger screening program we’ve had over the last decade,” Mica said Friday night. “The agency should concentrate on cutting some of the more than 3,700 administrative personnel in Washington who concocted this decision, and reduce the army of TSA employees that has ballooned to more than 62,000. Nearly every positive security innovation since the beginning of TSA has come from the contractor screening program,”.
Advocates of private screening have said that it is easier to discipline and replace under-performing private screeners than government ones. TSA will allow these sixteen airports to continue using private contractors. It’s probably the only way they can say that they aren’t allowing unions to set up a monopoly that excludes any competition.
The translation here, of course, is that somebody from the union for TSA got on the phone and let Pistole know that allowing private companies to compete had to end.
“The nation is secure in the sense that the safety of our skies will not be left in the hands of the lowest-bidder contractor, as it was before 9/11,” said John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees. “We applaud Administrator Pistole for recognizing the value in a cohesive federalized screening system and work force.”
Ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D) of Mississippi, applauded the decision made by TSA chief Pistole, commenting that “ending acceptance of new applications for the program makes sense from a budgetary and counter-terrorism perspective”.
I had to read Rep. Thompson’s statement twice…this makes sense for budgetary reasons? Refusing to allow equally competent employees who meet TSA standards and work under TSA oversight at lower cost makes sense for budgetary reasons? How is that true, Rep. Thompson?
What this comes down to is that airport screening is one of the few areas that the unions have right now where enrollment is actually increasing rather than decreasing. They want the revenues from employees’ union dues. That is all this is about, plain and simple.
Did you notice the number of employees Rep. Mica mentioned? 62,000 and counting. That’s 62,000 new employees on the government payroll from TSA alone. 3700 administrative employees? That’s one administrative position for every 17 employees. Employees that probably will have exorbitant pension packages and health insurance benefits.
There was a day when unions served a positive purpose in our society. It’s a shame to see how much that truly has deteriorated.
Their day of glory has long gone. They’ve become nothing more than a leech that is bleeding our economy bone dry of its financial resources.
I hope that other Republicans will join Rep. Mica in scrutinizing any and every situation they can find where unions are given preference to the exclusion of equal performance yet less costly private sector service providers.