Well, now we know just how valuable your safety is whenever you get on an airplane (hint - it isn't worth very much).
After the Sept. 11 attacks, it was shown that the nation's airport security system was not just full of holes but, worse, that the problems had been caused directly from the privatization of the airport security system. Employees were being paid far less than fast food workers, received little or no intensive training, had a turnover rate of over 300% in some airports, and were basically just warm bodies placed there for atmosphere.
To resolve that dangerous situation, lots of hot air was expended about solutions such allowing the screeners and other security personnel to become federal employees, a move that would vastly increase the wages and benefits as well as providing an organized training and retraining regimen. This program would have provided a federal government level department that would have been held responsible for airport security in all aspects from screeners to tarmac and perimeter security as well as the inspection and control of all luggage moving through the system.
Naturally, the Republicans wouldn't stand for any direct federal involvement since that would make the employees eligible to become union members, a possibility that the Rabid Right saw as creating more Democrats since the right's party, the GOP, has always been absolutely against any organizing of labor since that increased costs and lowered profits.
Instead, the Department of Transportation was charged with overseeing the very same corporations that had always provided the security and who had so brilliantly failed last September. Congress gave the Department of Transportation a set of regulations meant to control the security companies and basic requirements for the applicants for these front line positions. These were meant to upgrade the average screener to at least high school graduates.
Now you know that I wouldn't be mentioning any of this unless the Republicans and the Democrats were, once again, screwing everything up quite nicely.
Instead of offering programs of continuing education and training for the screeners, the Dept. of Transportation has decided to exclude the high school degree requirement. They claim that this constraint would disqualify over one quarter of the total current workforce. The government is also trying to expedite the Immigration and Naturalization process to make citizens of the many current immigrant workers.
Now, let's consider those two little points, shall we?!? Here we have a system that is purported to provide security and to safeguard the tens of thousands of airline passengers twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. One would assume that such a weighty assignment would be carried out by the best educated and trained employees available, wouldn't one? Instead, what the government expects us to accept is that the same people who allowed the Sept. 11 attackers to pass so easily through the sieve of "security". are now suddenly the best that the corporate security can manage. We are asked to believe that just because an employee has stayed on for a year that they are so important as to be nearly irreplaceable and must be retained even if they come nowhere near meeting the minimum requirements set by Congress just two months ago.
Also, why is it just fine to employ immigrants as screeners at minimum wage but not acceptable to employ them in the many industries in which the Rabid Right is always complaining about them taking away "American's jobs"? Why, when Congress is spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to seal our southern border, is the administration trying to use them as low cost employees in the security industry? Perhaps it's because the jobs, while among the most important in a traveler's life, they are also the most underpaid and unappreciated?
Gentle readers, the stupidity of both parties aside, this nation deserves far more from the idiots than just setting the lowest possible standards for your safety. Your life must be held as far more precious than mere political tools. Your life must be seen as the ultimate responsibility of the government and all other considerations must be placed far below that concern. With this silly and inane bunch of criminal conspirators that are currently infecting the nation's highest offices, you can be certain that your life will always come a distant second to the bribes and profits of Corporate America. Your life means squat when they compare you to just a little more profit. Don't you find that just a little sad and degrading?
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