The Republican- controlled House voted yesterday for an aviation security bill that does not require the nation’s28,000 airport security workers to become federal employees but protects the owner of the World Trade Center fromlawsuits. Congressperson Gary Ackerman commented that “Republicans are more afraid of Unions than terrorists” as the286-139 vote delivered president Bush a victory by approving a bill that would let him decide whether to makesecurity workers federal employees or keep them as security guards working for private companies, though understricter supervision. The House vote will force potentially contentious negotiations with the senate, whichunanimously passed a bill to federalize airport security workers last week.
As the House voted, the Federal Aviation Administration shut down part of Kennedy international Airport, afterprivate security workers failed to prevent several people from bringing contraband through security checkpoints. Thethree largest private airport security companies have been wracked with abuse in recent years ranging from corruptionto massive safety violations, inadequate training, and poor labor conditions for workers.
- Paul Hudson, Founder and President, Aviation Consumer Action Project.