Orlando, Fla. – Today the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) voted on and passed the controversial measure to begin the process of contracting out security at Orlando International Airport.
“We are calling on the immediate resignation of airport management who have failed thousands of working people here at the airport and have now jeopardized the American public traveling through Orlando,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr.
“Today is a sad day for working people in the greater Orlando area, and for the millions of passengers who fly through Orlando International Airport every year,” said Cox. “While we had hoped the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority would work with members of Congress at improving management at TSA, and would listen to the working people most affected by this vote, the board instead voted to begin the dangerous proposition of outsourcing security in Orlando.”
AFGE, which represents more than 45,000 TSA Officers nationwide, has been active in the fight to keep screening in the hands of federally trained officers.
“Today, the board could have prevented the first steps of stripping more than a thousand union jobs from public servants so private corporations can make a buck,” Cox said, adding, “It’s disgraceful to see this appointed group vote to place profits over passengers.”
The vote comes just months after Orlando International Airport was named as the top airport in the country by the J.D. Power 2017 North America Airport Satisfaction Study. The study found that passengers flying in and out of Orlando International did so with extremely high satisfaction and safety scores, and underscored the high-level of work done by the Transportation Security Officers in Orlando.
“Last year the Transportation Security Officers at Orlando International Airport discovered the seventh most guns in the country – 84 percent of which were loaded,” said AFGE District 5 National Vice President Everett Kelley.
“These highly-trained, highly-skilled officers have sworn an oath to protect the Constitution and the American public, and have been recognized for their hard work by J.D. Power. But now these men and women must deal with the fact that their jobs, pensions, and benefits are about to be stripped away,” said Kelley.
The controversial and at times secretive vote by the GOAA board occurred despite public support for TSA Officers by Senator Bill Nelson and Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto of Florida, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, and Association of Flight Attendants-CWA International President Sara Nelson who put out letters and statements of support for the workers at Orlando International.
“Thank you to everyone who stood with us in solidarity during this fight,” said AFGE TSA Council President Hydrick Thomas. “We all know how vital our TSA workforce is, and even though the board decided today that they’d rather see private companies contract out this work than ensure the safety of the flying public in Orlando, we are not done fighting,” he added.
AFGE acknowledged that the board now can proceed with entering into the Screening Partnership Program under TSA, but hoped that board members would work with Congress and the employees at the airport to protect the more than 1,000 jobs slated to be cut.
“We will never stop fighting for federal workers to retain their jobs and their rights at work,” said Cox. “Today’s decision is a terrible one, but we will explore every avenue available to us to make sure the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority hasn’t jeopardized the entire country with their foolish decision.”