Florida Congresswoman speaks out on behalf of Transportation Security Officers across the country
WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) commends Congresswoman Corrine Brown for testifying on behalf of thousands of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) last week at an airport privatization hearing before the Greater Orlando Airport Authority (GOAA) in Orlando, Fla.
The GOAA is currently reviewing a number of issues to determine how to improve customer safety at the airport, including the possibility of transitioning to private screeners under the Screening Partnership Program (SPP) at TSA. Brown spoke out against using private contractors to serve as airport screeners at Orlando International Airport (MCO), the state’s second busiest airport.
“Some things should not be based on the lowest bidder, and aviation security is one of them. TSA’s focus is solely on security and safety, while a private company’s focus is clearly on generating profits,” said Rep. Brown.
“TSA screeners are well trained professionals who put their lives on the line every day to keep the traveling public safe from harm. They shouldn’t have their jobs jeopardized by an unwise and unnecessary push for privatization,” Brown continued.
The TSOs at MCO have been particularly successful at protecting the Greater Orlando community. In 2013, MCO was ranked the seventh highest nationally in confiscation of firearms. TSOs at MCO confiscated 47 firearms last year, 83 percent of which were loaded. A survey of 1100 MCO travelers conducted by Valencia College during 2010-2011 found that 96 percent of travelers were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience with federal TSOs at the airport.
As the exclusive representative for the more than 45,000 TSOs who screen all commercial airline passengers, baggage and cargo, AFGE has rejected any attempt to transfer airport security to private, for-profit companies.
“Despite what some lawmakers may say, the current system is not broken. TSOs have done a great job at keeping our airways safe and preventing another 9/11. We should continue to build on the progress we made, not fall back into the mistakes of the past.” said J. David Cox Sr., AFGE National President.
At this time, it is unknown when a decision will be made.
“We are confident GOAA will make the correct decision and continue with federal TSOs. We are a dedicated workforce and are committed to protecting the flying public,” said Don Thomas, President of AFGE Local 556 which represents TSOs at the Orlando airport.