November 06, 2001
Magda Lynn Seymour
Diane S. Witiak
(202) 639-6419

Temps Are Wrong Approach To Protecting The Flying Public

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Bobby L. Harnage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), issued the following statement in response to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement that it would hire temporary workers to provide oversight and support at airport screening checkpoints:

“Temporary rent-a-cops won’t protect America from terrorists. The work of screening passengers at the nation’s major airports should not be left to temps and contractors whose bottom line is profit.

“Thanks to the Republican leadership’s continued pampering of their corporate campaign contributors, the safety of the flying public remains in jeopardy. By keeping airport security in contractors’ hands, corporations stand to reap the rewards of their campaign giving at the expense of the nation’s travelers.

“We wouldn’t use temps on six-month contracts to protect the White House or U.S. Capitol. We shouldn’t hire them to protect the flying public.

“We need only look to last week’s incident at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport—in which a carry-on bag loaded with knives and a stun gun was overlooked at a security checkpoint staffed by rent-a-cop contractors—to prove the point. Sometimes it seems that every day, we learn of another breach of airport security.

“The FAA’s plan to hire temps to supervise contractors worsens a system designed to fail.

“Law enforcement is a permanent government responsibility. Providing security for the American people against terrorism should be a permanent responsibility of the federal government.

“The conferees should recognize that contractors and temps are the wrong choice for airport security. The federal government should hire permanent, career law enforcement personnel for this critical function.”

The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, is the largest union for government employees, representing 600,000 federal workers in the United States and overseas, as well as employees of the District of Columbia. To learn more about AFGE, visit

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