While Congress was on vacation the last week of May, TSA officers found a record-breaking 74 guns, 65 of which were loaded, in carry-on bags at airports around the country. These weapons could lead to tragedy and loss of life in the wrong hands.
But that didn’t happen, thanks to TSA officers who, despite facing severe understaffing, are doing an outstanding job of protecting air travelers and making sure they arrive at their destinations safely.
With the beginning of the busy summer travel season and lines swelling to unprecedented levels, AFGE is calling on TSA and Congress to add the 6,000 additional TSA officers it needs to efficiently and securely screen passengers.
So far, TSA and Congress have only committed to adding a few hundred more officers to checkpoints, which is about as effective as standing under an umbrella in a hurricane.
“Adding one or two officers to a security line will do little to ease the crush of passengers waiting two or three hours at times to get through the checkpoint, and excessive mandatory overtime will lead to overworked employees,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said “This is a serious problem that demands a serious solution.”
TSA Administrator Neffinger testified that TSA is down by 6,000 Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) since 2011. At the same time, the volume of passengers has risen 15% from 643 million to 740 million travelers. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the number of air travelers is projected to exceed 800 million in 2016.
TSA officers are doing the best they can with the limited resources they are given. Despite the high level of frustration that passengers experience because of long lines, TSA Officers take extra effort to treat them with respect and dignity throughout the screening process.
AFGE will continue to keep the pressure on TSA and Congress. Visit afge.org to learn more.