Big Labor Exploits Another Terror Attack to Expand Compulsory Unionism

by Anthony Riedel
National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation

True to form, compulsory unionism advocates are exploiting a serious situation to try to force more workers into union monopoly control. In this case, union bosses have long set their sights on forcing America’s airport screeners into union ranks. From the Wall Street Journal:

The notion that unionized airport baggage screeners in Detroit could have prevented Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a plane in Amsterdam or Lagos doesn’t make much sense. But sure enough, some in Congress are using the thwarted Christmas Day terrorist attack to argue that a new leader for the Transportation Security Administration could have saved the day.

Rahm Emanuel’s famous declaration that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste seems to have become a way of Washington life.

That’s the meaning of the political and media beatdown now being visited on Republican Senator Jim DeMint for the high crime of putting a hold on the nomination of Erroll Southers to head TSA, which runs the 50,000 airport screeners. Mr. DeMint objects because Mr. Southers has refused to say whether he would reverse current policy and back collective bargaining for baggage and passenger screeners, which the Obama Administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill support.

…Mr. DeMint’s objection is rooted in a substantive concern that union practices and work rules will compromise security. TSA uses a performance pay system that tries to reward ability and effort, with the goal of recruiting and retaining the best employees. Unions prefer seniority-based pay that puts a premium on time served rather than performance.

TSA also needs to be able to change its procedures or move personnel to high-risk locations on short notice. Agency managers now have the ability to do that, but under union work rules they might need to get the permission of union leaders, who won’t want to upset the rank-and-file.

In other words, Congressman Thompson has it exactly backwards. If the goal is to have a “nimble, responsive” TSA, a non-union work force makes more sense.

The Journal correctly points out that union boss work rules can hamper TSA’s efforts to keep our skies safe. But also, union bosses often put the expansion of their forced unionism empire before the safety of the public and even the very employees they claim to represent.

But it doesn’t stop at airport screeners, Big Labor is actively pushing to subject America’s first responders to union monopoly control as well.

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