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Will TSA Unionization Jeopardize Air Safety?

From FDR to Reagan, history suggests the answer is yes.

by
Matt Patterson

Bio

February 24, 2011 - 12:18 am
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For his part, Pistole assures lawmakers that he “won’t allow anything to happen that will adversely affect security,” and even says he would follow Reagan’s example and consider firing TSA workers who overstepped their bounds. Pistole points out that his decision does nothing to alter current regulations against work stoppages. But some are afraid even a little taste of unionization will encourage a hunger for more — more compensation, more benefits, more time off, more authority to say “no” to the employer.

Certainly, that is the history of labor unions, who have never settled for just a little power. While noting that Pistole’s decision places strict limits on what TSA agents may collectively bargain for, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala) rightly asks: “How do we know that won’t be expanded at some point in the future to include many other items?”

Back in 2001, some wondered if the creation of a vast new government agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and yet another sprawling security bureaucracy, the TSA, was really the answer to America’s security issues. After all, the national defense and intelligence communities are already comprised of dozens of agencies notoriously poor at communicating with each other and amongst themselves. And none of them prevented the September 11 attacks. Now, the door has been opened to make the TSA as lazy and unresponsive as other unionized federal employees, like those in the Post Office.

From March 9th to April 19th, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union will compete in an election for the right to represent TSA workers.  A loss for both would be a tremendous win for America’s weary air travelers.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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Matt Patterson is the Warren Brookes Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and senior editor at the Capital Research Center.
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