(WASHINGTON)—Transportation Security Officers across the country are being made to work with no precautionary measures as they screen passengers who may have been exposed to the swine flu, the American Federation of Government Employees said today.
In an urgent letter to TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides, AFGE requested the following:
AFGE has heard from TSOs at a number of airports throughout the system that requests for protective gear have been denied. In Denver and Miami, for example, TSOs were told they could not be given masks for fear that it would cause public panic. However, at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, baggage screeners were given protective gear while checkpoint screeners—who come in direct contact with travelers—are being denied the gear.
“TSA has an unfortunate pattern of inconsistent responses when it comes to issues of employee safety,” Gage said. “This is a perfect example of why collective bargaining in general, and one nationwide contract specifically, is needed at this agency. A measured and consistent response to emergencies at our nation’s ports is exactly what the creation of the agency was meant to achieve. AFGE seeks collaboration with DHS and TSA to ensure that TSOs have all they need to protect themselves the flying public from infection.”