Imagine it being as hard to fire an incompetent airport screener as it is to fire an incompetent teacher. Think that might have any implications for our safety and security? Evan Kohlmann apparently doesn't. In fact, the NBC terrorism consultant thinks opposition to unionizing the employees of the Transportation Safety Administration is "nonsense" and "ridiculous."
Kohlmann made his comments on MSNBC this afternoon in the course of condemning Sen. Jim DeMint for opposing TSA unionization. The Republican senator from South Carolina has put a hold on the nomination of Erroll Southers to head the TSA because of the nominee's apparent intent to unionize the TSA.
David Shuster teed up Kohlmann's tirade [the video bears watching to see just how contemptuous Kohlmann appeared] . . .
DAVID SHUSTER: Sen. DeMint, Republican senator, said that the unionization of the TSA is a national security issue. Do you know of any national security analysts who feel the same way?
EVAN KOHLMANN: I think Jim DeMint needs to get his priorities straight. The national security issue is why intelligence reform has not taken place since 9-11 while all these folks have been at the helm [Bush's fault!] The national security issue is why we don't have a head of a TSA in place while al Qaeda is attempting to bomb US airplanes. A national security issue has nothing to do with unions. He needs to get his priorities straight. He needs to wake up. Because this is nonsense. This is just ridiculous.
Since Kohlmann and Shuster are at a loss for reasons why unionizing the TSA is a bad idea, let me give them a bunch, courtesy an editorial in the San Francisco Examiner:
- The agency would lose its flexibility to move people and equipment and change protocols when it believes there’s a terrorist threat to airliners.
- Collective bargaining would force TSA managers to share sensitive intelligence information with union negotiators every time new workplace procedures are needed, thus increasing the possibility of damaging leaks about those procedures.
- TSA managers would no longer be able to reward high-performing screeners or fire those unable or unwilling to perform their duties in an efficient manner. Being able to do so is critical to the TSA’s ability to defend American air travelers against future terrorist attacks.
- Hundreds of TSA screeners would have to be diverted from the jobs they were hired to do in order to set up the negotiating infrastructure required by collective bargaining.