In August, the 45,000 employees of the TSA were offered a contract with the American Federation of Government Employees by TSA Administrator John S. Pistole.  For all intent and purpose, TSA employees now work for a trade union, not for you and me.  Why do I say that?  Their new contract means that if they screw up, they look to the Union to protect them.  If they want a pay raise, they don’t work harder or smarter for their employer, they go to their Union to tell Union leaders to bargain for more pay and benefits.

I can find no incentives in the Union Contract to make it likely that union members will work harder, faster, or more effectively. I can find nothing that will make Union employees of the TSA do a better job of securing our safety than non-union employees.  They will, however, get increases in pay and benefits.  The average pay will be just above $45,000 not counting the value of the benefits.  Why is this good for the taxpayers who provide the money to support the TSA?  I can’t find an answer.  I can multiply $45,000 (average TSO pay not counting benefits) by 45,000 TSA officers.  I get over $2 Billion annual cost of wages alone to operate TSA as it is now configured/contracted with the union.


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Instead of a TSA with Union employees, what I think we should do is to get rid of the TSA, or, at minimum, make it a small and focused planning and standards agency to check on the work of the airlines.  Make the Airlines responsible for passenger safety.  They are already responsible for hiring and training pilots, arguably the most important link in the safe flying chain.  They are also responsible for hiring and training the flight attendants who are on board primarily to provide for the safety of the passengers.

The airlines would do a much better job of ensuring the safety and security of fliers from the threat of terrorism.  The stakes and incentives for the airlines are off the charts compared to the stakes for the TSA.  If a terrorist gets on board a plane and causes it to crash what are the consequences:  For the passengers and crew, death or injury;  For the TSA officers, probably an investigation and possible reprimand and retraining; no loss of life, no injury, no loss of pay or benefits or seniority.  What about the consequences for the Airline?  If people believe that the airline does a poor or lax job of preventing a terrorist from getting on their planes, who would fly with them?  Who would be a willing to be part of a flight crew for them?  The airline needs to protect its multimillion dollar planes.  What sort of liability would they incur?  I contend that they have incentives that would amount to the life or death of the enterprise, not to mention its employees.  Compare that incentive with the possibility of a reprimand faced by the TSA.

Do you agree that we should eliminate the TSA and leave security up to the Airlines?