April 25, 2002
Magda Lynn Seymour
Diane S. Witiak
(202) 639-6419

Arrests of Airport Employees Show Need to Professionalize Security Workforce

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Following the arrest of nearly 100 airport workers in a security sweep of three Washington, D.C. area airports, Bobby L. Harnage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), issued the following statement:

“AFGE has long known what happens when you give jobs with important public responsibilities to the lowest bidder—you get employers who pay the worst and treat their employees the worst. The workers suffer, the quality of the work force suffers, and in this case our public safety was threatened. While this sweep did not target airport security workers, it should provide a final answer to anyone out there still wondering if federalizing the airport security work force was a good idea: YES!

“AFGE was among the organizations that lobbied hardest for the federalization of airport security personnel and we have now begun an aggressive organizing campaign among airport security screeners—advocating for a work force in which workers are considered professionals and treated as such.

“In addition, airport screeners should be federal employees in more than just name. They should be allowed to organize to ensure fairness and equity on the job to provide the best protection for the American public.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union representing 600,000 federal and D.C. government workers nationwide and overseas. For more information on airport screeners’ rights and concerns, visit AFGE’s Web site at

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