Thursday, December 30, 2010

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

2010 has been a year of promise and change. This blog-site was created for the express purpose of exposing and highlighting the managerial failings of CAS. Their outright disregard for fairness and lack of concern for the employees of CAS will not end until they are gone. We will continue to make the lack of adequate staffing known to TSA. We will continue to unmask the unfair promotion processes and favoritism that runs rampant. We will continue to listen, hear your complaints and post them.

Thanks to all those who have helped to make this effort a success. We will not stop until we achieve our goals.

May our future be full of hope and promise.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Patriot Pilot" Reveals His Identity

The now famous pilot has revealed his identity. He is American Airlines pilot Chris Liu. He revealed this on Monday on Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN. He also responded to some of the claims that SFO had that we reported on the other day.

At this point it's a back and forth between Liu and TSA in which he claims security is lacking and TSA claims otherwise. It will be interesting how this story continues to develop.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Another Bad Day for CAS in New York

Front page news at the New York Post.

See below "Star Shot in Harlem"

and above "Blind fire hero to the rescue"

No heroes in this story, though.

TSA- The Best Choice of the available options

We all know that it's not perfect, but I would much rather expend energy trying to fix what is wrong at TSA versus trying to fix what is wrong at CAS. I would rather tackle the 800 pound gorilla and go straight to the source of all these security missteps and over reactions. Let's be instrumental pushing for procedural changes within TSA! Let's meet this challenge head on by offering sensible changes and solutions based on our own years of experience. Let's use our method of "Engage" to get things changed. Someone, somewhere should finally see that this is a valuable resource that should be used. We will keep searching until we find that someone!

The problems at TSA are numerous, too numerous to list. But, if we care at all about what we are doing, or what we are suppose to be doing let's fight to make things better. TSA needs to start listening to those in the trenches who want to make things better. Don't let our years of experience count for nothing! We are here to help, use us.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

SFO Responds to Airline Pilot Posting Video to Youtube

In a report posted to on Saturday, SFO responded to the controversy surrounding the airline pilot allegedly posting SSI (Sensitive Security Information) that we reported on earlier this week. SFO stated, "The video shows a door with a card swipe and suggests that access is gained to the airfield area through this door. In fact, the door shown in the video provides access only to an employee lunchroom." The statement from SFO goes on to further state that, "San Francisco International Airport is proud to both an innovator and a trendsetter in aviation security. SFO meets, and in many cases, exceeds every federal security requirement."

That is indeed true about exceeding "every federal security requirement." Before TSA eliminated the hand wand procedure, do we remember all of those unnecessary steps that Covenant Aviation Security required of us? Not to mention a myriad of other things that we're required to do by CAS that is neither good security or good use of manpower.

We shall see what comes of this controversy surrounding this airline pilot. Hopefully he will prevail in the end as it will be a sad day indeed when citizens of this great country are unable to speak and point out the failings of the government. And NO, TSA, he was NOT revealing any SSI! That is just a pure bull crap reason so as to shut him up!

It's time for all of us to speak up. Some may not agree with many of the points we make on this blog. In fact, even some of us contributors don't always agree with one another. But we're all speaking up and most importantly allowing our brains and common sense to come to the surface.

That is one of the inherent things wrong with bureaucracies such as TSA and CAS. Not only is thinking not encouraged, it is outright discouraged. Even though the federal government essentially wasted $45 million on the "Checkpoint Evolution" program, the idea of being proactive and "thinking outside the box" were worthwhile concepts in terms of improving security at the airports. Unfortunately, as many of us predicted, it was never really implemented. The main reason for that is those bureaucrats just couldn't buy in to it. If they did, there wouldn't be as much need for their jobs.

Let's all keep fighting the good fight, and don't be afraid to call out people in positions of power for their lack of forward thinking with security.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We just wanted to wish everyone of our co-workers a very Merry Christmas. For those of us that might be stuck working today, cheer up and focus on the holiday pay. For the rest of you, enjoy your time with your loved ones.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

TSA Gets Schooled

Found this funny, but apropos video on youtube earlier. It's 7 minutes long, but well worth watching, because even though it's animated, it perfectly illustrates the absurdity of a lot of what we do.

Be warned, it does have a fair amount of profanity in it.

Be Careful What You Say

For all intents and purposes, National Opt Out Day was by and large a failure. Or was it? The one thing that it did accomplish is shining a light on TSA and the gestapo tactics that the agency has decided to embark upon.

Recently, for those that haven't been following, is the controversy surrounding Wikileaks. What you may or may not know is that not only are military employees not permitted to read the leaked cables because those cable are still classified, neither are TSA employees. Yes, that means all of us as well.

Now comes to light an FFDO (Federal Flight Deck Officer) recently released a video to Youtube that he took at SFO highlighting some of the security lapses that exist there. Shortly after releasing that video, TSA suspended his FFDO privileges and had county sheriffs show up at his home to confiscate his Federally issued firearm. TSA claims that he is revealing SSI, yet everything he shows is in the clear and public view.

Once again, this demonstrates the idiocy of not only the Federal government, but TSA as well. TSA has quickly become a farce and its half measures with security. It's time for the agency to be abolished.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Do the Hokey-Pokey in Sioux Falls

Covenant Aviation Security LLC will be out in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, come April 1. TSA has reserved the contract for a "small business", and will announce the contract winner in January.

They've got one foot out. But will they do the hokey-pokey and partner with a small business and keep one foot in?

Tupelo has done the hokey pokey. Sonoma has a Covenant partner. And Gerry Berry's home state of Montana hokey-pokeys all over the Big Sky state.

That's what it's all about!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Dark Day for CAS

On December 7th, 2010 the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey awarded contracts and agreements for several facilities. One contract was to supply unarmed uniformed guard services for JFK and LaGuardia Airports.

The winning bidder was FJC Security Services, Inc. The previous contract holder was Covenant Aviation and, as a parting gift, there is a pending breach of contract lawsuit from the local chapter of SEIU.

How much did the 1 million dollar settlement CAS paid, without admitting any wrong doing of course, influence the outcome of this awarded contract? One can only speculate.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

R.I.P. Our Friend

I have wrestled with the idea of making a post about Brian Francisco ever since I heard the sad news. Yet, I feel I need to. For those that never had the pleasure of working with Brian, I am personally sad for you. He was a great guy and had such a wonderful attitude that it always brightened your day to work with him.

I wish there were words that I or anyone else could say that would console his family and close friends. Sadly there is nothing that any of us can really say to do that. He was taken from us way too soon. I know that he is in a better place, but that still doesn't soothe the sorrow we all feel for his passing.

Rest in peace Brian, and rest knowing that we all love and miss you dearly. God bless!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bonus Checks

It would be real easy and simple to complain about our bonus checks, particularly the size of it. But to be fair, we really shouldn't. As one who regularly rails against the company for the many negative things it does, we should be grateful. Especially when we consider that supervisors, managers, and local TSA will not be getting raises again.

Yes, we know, they make more money than we do and it is easy not to feel sorry for them, but you'd be peeved too. So we have come up with a solution to this matter.

Cut the fat. Have any of you noticed how every time you turn around there is a new TSA suit? How many of these TSA "managers" does SFO really need? Why are our tax dollars being wasted for all of this management redundancy? When you factor in all of the managers that Covenant has, why is there this need for all of these other TSA suits?

So for TSA, we suggest you get rid of some of that excess. Maybe then TSA can afford to give the rest of you a raise.

Speaking of excessive management, have you ever wondered what exactly is the difference between an ATM and a TM other than pay and title? Yeah, after 8 years we're still trying to figure that one out as well as why we need so many, especially when you factor in the Floor Supervisors. Then again, Floor Supervisors exist so that they can relieve the ATMs and TMs of some of their inordinate amount of work.

Just as we suggested with the TSA folks, get rid of some of that excess. Perhaps then Gerry Berry will be able to scrounge up some coins from his pocket to give the remaining CAS management a raise.

Ahhh, but who do they get rid of??? Well, if this were run like a real business, they'd get rid of the less than stellar people. And only the cream of the crop would remain The problem with that is that it would require a little forethought, something the bosses of CAS care not to do.

So enjoy your bonuses and try not to spend it all in one place.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

SEIU Sues Covenant in Brooklyn

What's this all about? According to the website, SEIU Local 32bj initiated an action against "Convenant Aviation Security LLC" (sic) on December 6 for breach of contract.

I doubt this will ever see a trial, but could be a textbook example of a deal gone sour.

Stay tuned! Who'll get the house and who'll get the kids?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Radiation Exposure Levels at Checkpoints and Baggage

There is an article in USA Today concerning radiation exposure levels and the ability to test and detect machine malfunctions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that TSA take steps to protect against excessive exposures.

USA Today requested, in November, to review the current inspection reports for the 4080 x-ray machines, and the 221 new full body scanners currently in use. So far, TSA has not released that information. Why? There have been reports about cancer clusters amongst TSA colleagues at airports in Boston and San Juan.

The article points to the millimeter wave machines as being much safer than the ionizing radiation machines.

Read the full stories at:

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Big "Green" Machine!

The Power of Money has, as you already know, both Republicans and Democrats calling for airports to opt out of TSA. We will have to connect the dots to expose this money trail that will lead to the real reasons for this opt out call. Private contractors will funnel money to airport commissions and political parties who were instrumental in pushing this "privatization" movement. A closer look at these financial connections needs to be initiated and exposed to the American Public. It is not about which entity will provide better and more responsive airport security, it is about which entity will provide the most "cash" for reelection campaigns and special interests.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Boring Labor Law Update

Here is an Amicus Brief (friend of the court brief) filed by the Service Employees International Union:

This brief will have a receptive audience with Democratic appointees in the current majority at the National Labor Relations Board. It appears that when contractors change, there may be new obligations for employers to bargain. It also appears the right to vote out the union at that juncture may disappear. (for other briefs filed see

The ability of a new contractor to slash wages may be tempered by this, but then again "bargaining" at SFO seems to have a meaning of its own, doesn't it?

Update: my first link is not working probably due to my lack of technical skills - for the curious, it's the SEIU brief below UGL-Unicco, which can be accessed from the second link.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Word from One of Our Readers Part 2

As promised, here is part 2 from yesterday's impassioned letter from a co-worker and reader of the blog.

The Growing Divide between The Hard Workers and “The Wall Flowers”
          by IronSublimation
In most other places to work, the trend is often this: the more you do, the better the rewards.  With CAS, that trend is the opposite.  The more you do, the more chances you have of making a mistake, thus, potential termination.  
It has been my constant observation that there are two types of TSOs: the ones that work hard and go beyond their call of duty and the ones that do the bare minimum.  I think that last sentence is pretty self-explanatory.  
You have the ones that walk away when they hear “[gender] assists” and the ones that actively listen for these calls.  You have the ones that hang around the supervisor podium or office, chomping it up with a terminal manager (Shelley Burrell) or other supervisors and the ones that remain on the floor working their posterior off until their next break.  Need I go further? 
Anyway, the real issue is the growing divide between the two groups.  This divide happens at the officer level, the lead level, and supervisor/management level.  At the officer level, the hard working group observes the actions (or lack thereof) of the wallflowers.  We see it as unfair that we are doing all of the work and that they are doing the bare minimum.  But do we complain on the floor?  No, because we have a job to do.
At the lead level, leads are responsible for rotations and delegation of duties.  A good lead will enforce their authority to delegate and be as fair as possible.  A bad lead will take the path of least resistance, which is to delegate the work to a hard working officer who will most likely not resist the request.  The wallflowers will resist or will use their friendship with the lead (if they have one) not to do any work or be called out.  How many times have you seen hard workers tapped out of a position to get an “assist” and see on the other side of the checkpoint several officers of the same gender as you, doing nothing? 
At the supervisor level, when faced with the duty of delegating officer work, the supervisor falls into the same boat as leads: taking the path of least resistance.  But a far more sinister path of least resistance lies within the enforcement of rules and actual supervisory work.  
I’ve lost count how many times I have seen a supervisor critique or chastise an officer that was chewing gum, talking on an x-ray, or missing a step in a procedure.  I applaud that move because at the very least, they are doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is supervising.  Perhaps a little more tact in delivering the critique may be in line for some, however, I am sure they mean well.  
The issue with certain supervisors is when the critiques become selective to those who offer little resistance.  How many times have you been chastised for talking on the x-ray, even if for a tiny period?  And how many times have you seen others, who have the reputation of being a resistor or wallflower, continue to talk and talk without receiving any reprimand?  I bet you’ve lost count… if you’re a hard worker. 
Finally, to complete this divide, we must look to the management level.  After all that I’ve said above, we hard workers, not wall flowers, continually observe the actions of our fellow officers, leads, and supervisors.  We grow progressively frustrated with all that we see around us.  To see this divide promoted by the management, perhaps inadvertently, makes matters even worse.  While we are working hard on the floor, we see certain wallflowers cozy it up with the managers, conversing and laughing.  While I have no problem with conversations and laughter, it’s the timing of it and the people involved.  
It is always the same people who are “hanging out” with the terminal manager;  the same people who talk to no end while running the x-ray without getting reprimanded.  It is the same people who stand along the wall barely doing anything and walking away when an “assist” is called.  We hard working officers are not stupid and we see all of this.  A particular example of a terminal manager that does this, quite openly it seems, is Shelley Burrell; unprofessional and unacceptable.  It is about time that we take action.
Solutions:  Promote officers that value hard work and fairness.  Force management to maintain professionalism and to limit fraternization with subordinates.  Prevent supervisors from having to complete the bureaucratic processes of TSA (read: paperwork) and keep them on the floor, monitoring the checkpoint actively instead of passively.  Educate the leadership on the need for them to maintain a professional and fair attitude, keep personal relationships outside of the work environment, and perform their duties objectively, not subjectively.  A possible problem with the last solution is the fact that the problem persists at the top, who would need to be the ones to enact such solutions.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mike Bolles- The man with all the answers!

The mere fact that those answers add up to a pile of horse manure does not matter. What matters here is that someone just might believe this fantasy.

A for "profit" company will never be able to "meet the staffing needs" because they artificially inflate the number of actual staffing. In order to "maximize" profits the staffing levels are kept at a bare bones level. It is only through the intervention of TSA that an increase in staffing occurs. What would change if CAS were to get another airport? Nothing! Generating profits, not providing top notch security service is the main focal point.

The solution that CAS applies can best be described as robbing Peter to pay Paul. Gutting the CTX community of DFO's to man the checkpoints is only one of the problems. They would much rather have baggage miss a flight than have the passenger ticked off.

The Mike Bolles solution is laughable. If he would apply the same standards to our wonderful management team who would be left? Hey, Mike, let's paint everyone with the same brush and standards. The corporate culture has to set an example. So far the example has been shameful.

Clean house first and lead by example, not with threats and intimidation.

A Word from One of Our Readers Part 1

We recently received a well thought-out letter from one of our co-workers and a reader of the blog. We thought that we should share part one of his/her letter with you all.

Politics, Politics, Politics…
          by IronSublimation
It is my hope that everyone knows how political the promotional process is here at Covenant Aviation Security.  I feel like I can count the number of questionable promotions that have been made on more than the number of fingers I have.
Call me naïve, but in the beginning I was a bright-eyed, motivated individual with hopes for a promotion down the line.  After seeing how the company promotes and what one needs to do to move ahead, it has been progressively difficult for me (and for many others, I imagine) to remain motivated.  
My first chance at promotion, albeit lateral, came when there was an opening to become a Dual Function Officer.  While the requisition stated that one must have been employed at CAS for six months, that “requirement” is merely a “soft” one.  
The timing of the requisition was almost impeccable. I was two weeks away from my six-month mark.  After providing my supervisor with my necessary paperwork, my STSO gave it to terminal manager Russell Mackey. Mackey subsequently denied the request, citing the fact that I have not been with the company for six months.  Feeling dejected and not yet knowing exactly how the company ran and the exceptions that could be made, I understood the reasoning for denial and moved on.  
Later on, I found out that someone from my class was promoted to DFO during the same time that I applied.  This is when I found out that the requirement for promotion was a “soft” one and that even Mackey has overlooked it in the past.  So why would he deny me and approve others?  Is it due to his personal rapport or relationship with others?  I confronted him on this issue some time later. He denied any wrongdoing, saying that he “didn’t know” that he could “overlook the requirement,” which is a lie as his promoting history dictates.  What I find particularly disturbing about this case is the fact that I cannot even trust my own manager.  He knew very well that he could have approved my request, and he knew very well that he has overlooked certain requirements in the past.
Strike two came when there was an opening for the class called “Protrack.”  If you don’t know, Protrack is a program that prepared officers for promotion into higher positions like lead or supervisor.  After initially applying, I made it to the first step of the process, which would be a prepared 5-minute presentation about leadership and what it meant to me.  On the day of my presentation, after much preparation time, I was told that my (and others’) presentation would be postponed indefinitely.  I never heard about it again despite repeated inquiries.  After working hard on the presentation and being left out in the cold, so to speak, I was amazed at how I had to find out through the grapevine that they had scrapped Protrack altogether.  Surely this would show me exactly how the company ran, right?  Well, I forged on, with hope for bigger and better things.
The third strike, which ironically was not the last considering the rules of baseball and the laws of California, came during the promotional process for Behavioral Detection Officers.  This time, the requirement for one to become a BDO was one year.  I found out the hard way that this requirement was actually a “hard” requirement rather than a “soft” one that I have explained previously.  After the interview process, which I thought went extremely well, I was kept in the dark about who did and did not make it.  After I found out whom they selected (through the grapevine), which, at the time, initially included someone from my class (déjà vu, right?), I was told that I was not selected because I have not been with the company for a full year. It was two weeks away from my one-year anniversary.  While the other person from my hiring class was eventually told that he or she would not be able to join due to his or her tenure and that it was a mistake on their part, just the sequence of events was enough to frustrate me even further. Not only did they waste time for the both of us, their vetting of candidates, or lack thereof, was apparently inefficient.
The final strike comes during the process for a promotion to supervisor.  Luckily for me (or not), I was granted an interview where I would be asked questions in front of three terminal managers and one human resources representative.  
During the interview process, I will admit that I wasn’t at my best, however, the look on managements’ faces and body language was discouraging from the moment I walked in there.  After knowing a bit about the way promotions were handled at CAS and observing the body language of the three managers, I already felt that they had an idea for whom they would promote and that the interview process was simply for show.  I knew of others who I felt would be great supervisors and yet, they were snubbed.  
There were four people who were selected, and of particular focus are the following three: Matt Davis, Ismael Rodriguez, and Robert Reclus. Do you see any particular issue that might call for an investigation?  Here’s the info:  Matt Davis is married to another supervisor, Melissa Davis.  Ismael Rodriguez used to work for SFPD.  And where did Mindy Pingel work before coming to CAS?  Robert Reclus is the twin brother of former Dual Function Supervisor James Reclus. 
See the connections there?  Oh wait, there’s more…
Recently, a certain officer was promoted to lead.  It’s no secret that this officer is the boyfriend to a certain Floor Supervisor from the mornings. I have also observed this officer in the past having quite a cozy relationship with Shelley Burrell.  Coincidence?  That’s what they will tell you.
And on a side note, can someone please explain to me why that Floor Supervisor was working in the same checkpoint, let alone, same terminal, with her boyfriend?  Conflict of interest much?   
So I presented a problem and here is a solution:  Promote on a meritocratic basis; judge an employee and their potential for leadership not just by an interview but by their history and workmanship on the floor, and finally, enforce anti-fraternization policies upon CAS management.
Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ooh, La La! "French-blue"

More media coverage for the indefatigable Covenant Aviation marketing department.
It's in the Charlotte Observer, and a shorter version appears in the Miami Herald.

They quote Mike Bolles, Senior Vice President at Covenant. He talks about firing or disciplining people. That's the straight scoop from a big picture guy at Covenant.

Obviously, Mr. Gerald Berry of Winter Springs, Florida, was a little overexposed in recent press coverage, so they've trotted out the B-team in Mr. Bolles.

When will these journalists start asking Covenant Aviation Security how the math works? The uniforms are described as "French-blue", but shouldn't we look a little below the surface?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We just wanted to send a shout out to all of our readers out there in wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully you're spending it with your family, however, if you do have to work hopefully you and your team is having a tasty potluck.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

National Opt Out Day

As most should know by now, today is the day. Will there be even more massively long lines than usual? We should know in a couple of hours. TSA/CAS will be attempting to have two lines at those checkpoints with the AIT. One for those that want to go through the naked body scanner, and one for those that are opting out.

We will say this for those that want to know. We know of no TSO/LTSO/STSO that actually enjoys looking at the images or of any Officer that enjoys performing the new pat downs. Most either just suck it up and do it or begrudgingly do it. It's not a pleasurable thing for Officers either way. It's just our job.

As generally the case with a hierarchical structure such as the TSA, the orders come from the top and work their way down to the men and women on the front lines. If we refuse to do it, we could lose our job, since it is considered part of our job. So if you're a member of the flying public, keep that in mind before you decide to tear in to an Officer for doing their job. What we do recommend is that you write a formal letter of complaint to TSA, DHS, the Whitehouse, and your congressman or congresswoman.

I can only speak for myself on this issue, and I know that I am in the minority with most of my co-workers in saying that I think the AIT as well as these new pat down procedures to be ludicrous. If, as Janet Napolitano and John Pistole are saying that it's necessary for security, then why did it take TSA 10 months to implement the new pat down procedures? Why did TSA react to the Yemen threat by banning printer cartridges of a certain size when any number of things that come through a check point could contain an IED?

These are the types of questions that the media should be asking of Napolitano and Pistole. Congress should be demanding answers to these questions. TSA spent $45 million dollars over two year ago attempting to implement Checkpoint Evolution in which one of the stated things was to become more proactive and not reactive. Once again, why have all of TSA's latest actions not only been reactive, but downright overreactive?

TSA has become a bloated behemoth of a monster. I know that I differ with some of my fellow contributors to this blog when I state that replacing Covenant Aviation Security with TSA at SFO is simply not the panacea that many think it will be. To replace one incompetent bureaucracy (CAS) with an even larger incompetent bureaucracy (TSA) hardly seems worthwhile. And just who is TSA accountable to when they screw up?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Who said going through airport security couldn't be pleasurable?

Thanksgiving at SFO courtesy of CAS

Are you ready to receive the box lunch, cookie and a soda that we use to get from CAS? Well, once again, it is not coming this year. In their attempt to maximize profits, and to show us how little they think of us, they have once again decided to bunch together Thanksgiving and Christmas. (We think)

Once again, it is the little things that count. How about the company making an attempt to show us that they appreciate all that we have done. How about a nice gesture to the people that will be working Thanksgiving Day and who will be away from their families? Good will, if they know what that means, would show that they are trying.

It appears that we are not worth it! So be it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Frequent Flyer Doesn't See Benefit of SPP

The blogosphere has been weighing in on John Mica's privatization pitch.

Here's one that speaks from a business traveler's perspective:

Funny how the message is so clear. She doesn't have any kickbacks clouding her judgment!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mica needs a reality check

Republican John Mica from Florida has suggested that airports consider going to private contractors and opting out of TSA. The thinking here is? That it would somehow be better than TSA? Obviously, he is not thinking this through.

Private contractors follow the TSA SOP and cannot modify any procedures, so how does that make a private contractor better? Oh, it must be the kickbacks!

A GAO report stated that the cost of a private contractor is 9 to 10% higher than a TSA Federal workforce, so, we fail to see the benefit. I guess we need to provide this info to Mr. Mica. We will rise to the occasion and will fill in the necessary blanks. Stay tuned!

Orlando Sanford International Airport Opts Out of TSA

Orlando Sanford International Airport has decided to go private contractor in the belief that they will get better customer service. We reported on this earlier in which Gerry Berry was convincing the airport that it would be financially beneficial to them to go this route, i.e., kick backs.

So now the question is did Berry woo the airport commission enough to select Covenant Aviation Security as that go to contractor? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Congressman Does Sales Prospecting for SPP

Congressman John Mica of Florida, a Republican, is letting airports know about the SPP. He should know since he is one of the authors of the Aviation Tranportation Security Act. But that doesn't mean he should help his benefactors (aka Gerry Berry, $700, and FirstLine Transportation Security's Political Action Committee, $1000) in such a brazen fashion. It seems that Orlando Int'l Airport, in response to the Congressman, will host a presentation on December 8.

Note that Orlando International does not have an Airport Board meeting scheduled on December 8. So PowerPoint presentations from any contractors present promising the moon may not be published online.

I have to believe the powers that be are starting to play hide the details. Commentor "Anon" may see this as a Republican play based on their pending majority in the House, but let's be real. A divided Congress leads to deal-making between the parties (just like in 2002). SEIU obviously has an end game here. Will AFGE respond on behalf of their members in Orlando? And how?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The power of SEIU, The Democratic Party and the Airport Commission at SFO

This is the letter that has been sent out on the internet, to the TSA blogs and other high Government officials within the Republican party, that highlights our position. Please copy and paste this letter, in its entirety, and post to any and all TSA related blogs that you want. Thanks much for your help.

Your voice for change shall and will be heard!

There is a private contractor, Covenant Aviation Security, responsible
for the Checkpoint and Checked baggage screening at San Francisco
International Airport. This private contractor is part of something
called the " Security Partnership Program " which, in the beginning,
started as a pilot program with a 3 year life expectancy. This
relationship should have been terminated quite some time ago. Now, 8
years later, this screening relationship is still in effect. How so,
and why? Well, here's where it gets interesting.

SEIU is the union that the employees of Covenant Aviation have to
belong to to keep their jobs. We know that SEIU, in 2008,
contributed more than 30 million dollars to the State of California
Democratic Party candidates. These candidates include Sen.Diane
Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer. SEIU is one of the most
powerful unions in the country and has 2.2 million members. 700,000
of those members are in the State of California. SEIU is one of the
Nation's top campaign contributors. The attached link will pull up a
story with more information.

It appears that the only reason that TSA has not Federalized this
airport is purely political. The power of this financial relationship
with the Democratic Party is preventing this conversion.

SFO is the sixth largest airport in the country. It has increased its
passenger volume by 5% this year in this tough economic
environment. There is no other airport in the country, the size of
SFO, that is controlled by a private contractor. All of the other
private contractors have regional or much smaller airports.

There also appears to be a profit sharing relationship with the
Airport Commission at SFO. We believe that this is a 50/50 split of
the profits. The President of Covenant,
in his presentation to the Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida, highlighted
some of the benefits of leaving TSA for a private contractor. From Berry's presentation it appears that CAS makes money on the interest (they share half the profit after interest) The government prints money, CAS can put this money in the bank until it is needed to meet the payroll.

This link will pull up the minutes of this presentation.

There are two ways that SFO can become Federalized. One way would be
for the Airport officials to request a change over. (And that will
never happen, as long as there is a revenue sharing arrangement
between Covenant Aviation Security and SFO.) The second and more
probable way, would be for Mr.John Pistole, the TSA Administrator, to
decide that SFO should be federalized.

Is the "Democratic Obama Administration" conveniently turning a blind
eye to the goings on at SFO? Does the Democratic Party feel that they
have nothing to fear and are untouchable? Does the security of the
American public flying out of SFO come down to an issue of political
contributions to the Democratic Party? It certainly appears to be so!

The American people need to know that the safety, of passengers flying
into and out of SFO, are of secondary importance and that decisions are made based on contributions by SEIU to
the Democratic Party.

TSA needs to take the necessary steps now
to safeguard the American public and not continue with this purely
political and financial relationship.

TSA will be the first to admit....

that they have been reactionary instead of proactive. It is extremely difficult to anticipate the "next" threat before it becomes the next threat. The new TSA administrator, Mr. John Pistole, has brought a new culture and a new sense of urgency. DHS, the 800 pound gorilla in all of this, is the one really behind all these reactionary responses. The new TSA administrator will need time to implement new procedures and policies. He is the right man for the job!

One of his best and biggest suggestions to improve security is to increase the security level for 10,000 of the TSA workforce. This step alone can help bridge the gap between what the "upper" levels of TSA knows versus what the front-line workforce knows. More information means a more knowledgeable and professional workforce.

Let's give him all of the time and all the support he needs to get things done.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Sir, could you please undress for me?

It shouldn't come as a surprise or be news to any of us in the airport security business of the growing backlash against the AIT machines or the new pat downs. Here are just some of the stories floating out there on the interwebs:

The Atlantic posts about a US Army staff sergeant serving in Afghanistan and how he finds it egregious as to how TSA treats our own citizenry here versus how the military treat the Afghans.

Heres a story from SignOn San Diego about a man being ejected from the San Diego International Airport for refusing to go along with these barbaric procedures. And here's his first person account of the story.

The NJ Star Ledger has yet another take on the whole ordeal.

And by now, a lot of people should have heard about the grass roots movement for National Opt Out Day on November 24, in which people are pledging to opt out of the AIT.

Here's my own personal take on the matter, and I hope that people in the general public read this as well: As one who has to perform this pat down, look at these images, and do these invasive searches, I find it appalling that we're doing it. I hate doing it, and I think that this is just more security theater on the part of TSA. Just as TSA's reaction to the Yemeni incident with printer cartridges, it's all reactionary and for show. Mind you, I speak only for myself and no one else.

The question is this: when will TSA be forced to answer for their bureaucratic bull crap and utter lack of regard for security as well as their lack of regard for real security? These new measures do not make us any safer.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More federal workers' pay tops $150K

An article in states that the number of Federal employees making more than 150,000 dollars per year has increased more than ten fold in the last five years and has doubled since President Obama took office. This certainly speaks volumes about Democratic Party values.

There are more shining examples within this article and can be read at:

The Time Has Come; It Has Begun!

It is time to expose the goings on between SEIU, The Democratic Party and the San Francisco Airport Commission. This cozy relationship, at our expense, has to end now!

We have initiated our thrust into the world of the TSA blogs to totally disclose the inner workings of this political and financial relationship.

Your help may be needed to help us in this effort. This is an enormous undertaking and we will need your participation.

May the seeds that we are planting bear fruit.

Good luck to us all!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Please remember to recycle...

In this politically correct world of calling on the public and corporations to be green, it's nice to know that Covenant Aviation Security is all about the recycling effort. Recycling of ideas, that is.

First there were part-timers. Then no new part-timers. Now there are part-timers again.

First there were CTX and Checkpoint TSOs. Then there were DFOs and CTX folks became the red-headed step children. Now CTX folks are loved again. Not so much for the DFOs.

They tried hall passes, sorry, Terminal Movement Tracking Cards years ago. Then they gave up on it. Now it's back again. Or is it?

They lose a Terminal Manager, then that Terminal Manager comes back again, this time as an Assistant Terminal Manager.

Now the latest are Bin Loaders. We had Bin Loaders years ago and except for a handful in CTX, they were eliminated when Covenant got busted by TSA on an audit. The Bin Loaders were listed on the books as TSOs. For those that aren't paying attention: That meant that Covenant was billing TSA for these "TSOs" but paying them at Bin Loader wages. I wonder how much of that revenue the SFO Airport Commission received in that deal?

So it's not much of a surprise that Covenant is bringing back the Bin Loaders. Except this time, they're coming back in a slightly different capacity. They are presumedly being tasked as Divestiture Officers (DO) and Travel Document Checkers. I wonder how the DO is going to work at checkpoints that have the Naked Body Scanners....oops sorry, what was the less offensive acronym TSA drummed up? Oh yes, Advanced Image Technology. Hmmm....AIT sounds so much nicer, doesn't it?

Anyway, these positions are being hired supposedly for the Holidays and as part-timers. So our only advice for those future employees that decide to take the job is beware. They could eliminate the position at anytime. Perhaps after Covenant signs their new contract, when they don't have TSA on their backs? Oh wait, that would actually require local TSA to give a damn, when we know none of them do!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Citizen Berry?

I decided to take an updated look at campaign contributions on the Federal Election Commission website. I was a little surprised at what I saw, but then again maybe I shouldn't be.

Mr. Gerald L. Berry of Winter Springs, FL made a contribution of $250 to Bachmann for Congress on 8/17/2010. His occupation: retired.

If he's not retired, I expect the Bachmann people will be updating the report. If he is retired, I understand, that was quite a performance on August 3 at Orlando Sanford International Airport.
Maybe it's time.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What the ?

Week at a time bid? What happened?

No advanced bidding, a six minute time slot, only one 10 1/2 hour allotment per day. Why?

One would think that they don't really want anyone to take any time off? How is what they did fair to those who have enough PTO and want to take time off during the holidays? Employee appreciation? Yeah, right! They are showing us how our needs are irrelevant.

When will they recognize that our time off is important to us? Does anyone think that we are asking too much in asking for fair treatment? Once again they are forcing us to use Kincare or FMLA which would give them very little time to find a staffing replacement.

It is time that they wake up!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Who will be the Losers?

As the threat to our national security continues to increase daily we
are still amazed at the lack of response from TSA regarding the
"Federalization" of the Checkpoint and Checked baggage arrangement at
San Francisco International Airport. The political connection with
SEIU, which is the union representing the private security workforce
at SFO, appears to be the main obstacle preventing this conversion.

Does the security of the
American public flying out of SFO come down to an issue of political
contributions to the Democratic Party? It certainly appears to be so!

So, we, the employees of CAS and the public flying out of SFO are the losers! The quality of our training would improve substantially under TSA.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mandatory Overtime?

We got word earlier tonight that Barbara Alvarenga was informing TSOs at a guard moun that for those that work past 2 AM this morning, will be required to work mandatory overtime. Supposedly this is due to the changing of time for daylight savings. And if anyone refuses, they will be charged with an occurrence. "Well, excuse me for knowing my rights and the CBA!"

So, let's look at what the CBA says, shall we? According to the CBA, section 2.4.1:

2.4.1 Mandatory Overtime

There shall be no mandatory overtime, except for emergencies such as a security breach, a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, directives as assigned by TSA, or similar event.
Well, golly gee! Let's see if we can figure this out, ok? So is lack of staffing and preparation an emergency? I suppose it could be. Then again, they'd be requiring mandatory overtime ALL the time due to our constant lack of staffing. After all, it's not as though people quit working for Covenant Aviation Security all the time for jobs that pay less with less benefits.

How about a security breach? Hmmm...don't think so.

A terrorist attack? That's a new one! Daylight savings time equals a terrorist attack? I don't even think Bush would have tried that one!

A natural disaster? Well, we suppose hiring and promoting incompetent boobs to positions of authority and power could be considered a disaster, but certainly not natural. That's what scientists call a "man made disaster".

Has TSA implemented a new SOP that requires mandatory overtime for daylight savings time? It's possible. God knows they don't have the best and brightest running things. However, to our knowledge no such policy has been implemented by TSA.

So that leaves us just one question. Is Alvarenga just pulling this out of her ass, or is she under some directive from her higher ups? Inquiring minds want to know...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Failed Experiment

We've been reporting on the DFO situation for sometime now. The latest news is that DFOs are being offered the chance to go CTX, Checkpoint, or to remain as a DFO. We can't imagine too many DFOs wanting to go up against the CTX seniority, then again, working at the checkpoint is no picnic either.

So the question is this: Is Donnie Filbert eliminating DFOs because of some TSA requirement or is this just his way to separate himself from his predecessor? Since Jeff Pugh got such a hardon whenever DFOs were mentioned, this might be the reason. Or it could simply be because TSA has determined we have too many DFOs. Either way, it is a huge turn of events.

For the longest time, DFOs were the only way to go. Those that had any sense of staffing knew that it really didn't make any sense to have such a large number of DFOs. Covenant Aviation Security's argument has always been that you get more flexibility with DFOs than you do with single function Officers. This argument doesn't stand up to scrutiny when you look at head counts and where help is needed.

For those of you that are a DFO, do you plan on switching or remaining, and why?

I'm melting, I'm melting!

One of the last TSOs to go through the Rev9 training forgot that he was scheduled for the class. He had been told, but it was his Monday, and he showed up at the ckpt at his usual time, some 3-4 hrs before the Rev9 class was to start.

Not seeing his name on the b-sheet, and still not remembering the class, he called the SCC to find out why his name was not listed.

A couple of minutes later, the ckpt was treated to the sight of Russ Mackey yelling at the TSO at the top of his lungs. He yelled: "Get out! Get off the checkpoint! Get out right now!"

The TSO, having a couple of hours to kill before class, went to HR and complained to Rosalie Aranda about Mackey's behavior.

Rosalie called Mackey up for a chat. Shortly thereafter, Mackey apologized to the TSO. The TSO got to the Rev9 class on time.

This story doesn't come as much of a surprise, considering Mackey's hotheadedness.  Then again, Covenant Aviation Security seems to foment this type of behavior from its managers and supervisors. Must we remind you about Shelley BurrellAnthony NguyenLinda Widden,  Curtis Boggs, or Gerardo Sanchez?

Turn Your Airport Screening Into a Profit Center

Turn Your Airport Screening Into a Profit Center!

The Republicans and Gerry Berry Backed Candidates Had a Great Night!

Operators are Standing By! Got a Union? No Problem, Don't Bargain! (just like SFO?)

Happy Days Are Here Again!

Friday, October 29, 2010

TSA's Russian Roulette Gambit

Well, with the new terrorist threat uncovered today one has to ask once again, "why is TSA not federalizing the screening program at SFO?" There is now another round in the chamber! The stakes just went up.

We hope that their reasons for keeping a private contractor in charge of security are acceptable to those who will be asking the tough questions.

Who in TSA will be the fall guy and the one who will fall on the bayonet? Will it be Ed Gomez? Jim Adams? We will be waiting and watching to see how this unfolds.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Optional Training

The federal government spends billions every year on contracts. But some items on the Government Accountability Office website ( make me wonder about the quality of the purchasing decisions.

The GAO offers a course "Principles of Appropriations Law Training - An Orientation to Federal Fiscal Law". The website states:


Who Should Attend

  • Government personnel with finance, accounting, contracting, budgeting, property management, auditing, or legal responsibilities

Who has attended

  • Recent attendees include staff from the Departments of Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor and State, the Federal Aviation Administration, National Archives and Records Administration, and the Library of Congress, as well as Army, Navy and Joint Chiefs staff and staff from other Defense Department components


No TSA? No FBI (Pistole's previous agency)?

Are you kidding me?

No wonder TSA's solicitations are chock full of broken links, questionable legal proclamations and apologetic "bridge contracts". It may be because TSA doesn't know any better!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Wicked

There once was an evil, nasty witch of the west. This witch eventually found herself in a pickle with a girl named Dorothy. Oh sorry, we got a little confused there for a second. We thought we were telling the story of Terminal Manager Shelley Burrell! Our bad!

But since we mentioned her, we can't help share a story that was sent in to us recently. It turns out that a short while back, a new hire was brought to tears over the way Burrell and STSO Linda Whidden talked to their employees at a guard mount.

Apparently Burrell was under a lot of pressure. And we all know that Whidden cracks at the first hint of pressure as well. You see, Burrell had TSA on her back. And as she explained to the TSOs, "I'm not going to lose my f-ing job because of the f-ing way you do yours!" This is just a small sample of the profanity laced tirade that transpired.

Being new, this new hire was not familiar with Burrell's and Whidden's lack of professionalism. This event was so traumatic to the new hire that the TSO almost quit. The TSO was talked out of this decision by someone else. This other person decided to relay this story to his "boss".

This "boss" now had to deal with the situation. Ultimately the incident got reported to HR and fell on Larry Perkins' lap. We have to give it to Burrell. When Perkins called her to inform her that he was starting an investigation on her, Burrell openly admitted to the obscene language.

Perkins, in his estimable self, called the new TSO to his office to discuss this incident. When the TSO arrived at the EAC, the TSO was presented with Burrell and Whidden standing outside his office with the most unpleasant of attitudes visible. The TSO was flabbergasted. The TSO immediately picked up on the intimidation factor and instinctively wanted to turn around and leave.  The TSO ultimately decided against it.

Once inside Perkins' office, he proceeded to explain to this new TSO that the individual needed to understand that Burrell is under a great deal of stress and pressure. He kept trying to convince the TSO that it was ok. After much insistence on Perkins' part, the TSO just said, "Are we done?" Clearly wanting to leave his office, the meeting was adjourned.

So what came of this incident? Well, Burrell and Whidden were terminated. Oh dammit! There we go again with the fairy tale! Of course nothing came of it. Just like nothing came of Dena Crawford or Anthony Nguyen or Gerardo Sanchez. These managers are simply untouchable.

All of this comes down to the question that we still don't have an answer to: What do managers have to do in order to be terminated? It's a simple question. Now where's the answer?!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pistole's Consultant Report

It's been two months since the Washington Post reported on Pistole's union impact study. This study will be performed by outside consultants and aims to assess the impact unionization would have on TSA operations. Did Pistole put that thing out to bid, or does he have executive authority to enter into consulting contracts? Most importantly, is Pistole controlling the number of yellow highlighting markers the consultants can use? Is Pistole checking to see if the consultants are paid adequate wages according to locality? Did Pistole check to see if the consultants subcontract x% of their work to qualified small business concerns or service disabled veterans? I know the purchasing department has their hands full, but is this all above board?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Upcoming Shift Bid

Some of the news that we're hearing is positive, some of it not so. Being the general skeptics that we are, we'll believe the positive when we see it. Knowing how Covenant Aviation Security has been with schedules over the last eight years, only rarely do they ever seem to get it right.

It does seem that DFL (Dual Function Leads), particularly those of you that prefer to work at night, are going to get screwed. Since Dual Functions are no longer the favored children, it seems you guys overall will be getting the same "royal treatment" that our CTX brethren have received for the last three years.

We don't know how much faith you guys will have considering that Covenant Aviation Security is using Ascent to generate the schedules again. For Dual Functions, they are hand selecting schedules for you guys from the CTX generated schedules.

And for more of "the more things change, the more they stay the same" department, they are bringing back the MRT. Oh wait, not the MRT but the MRU. Mobile Rotating Unit, with emphasis on the singular form of "unit". Note that if you happen to bid for this schedule you are volunteering ahead of time to be moved around even more. And you will not stay together with the other people that happen to bid for the MRU. The situation could be that one of you stays at a location and the other one goes to another location. Be aware of that ahead of time. They're also creating separate bid lines for ADASP. For those of you that like ADASP, this is now your opportunity to get away even more, perhaps.

The union is supposedly working with Terence Cunningham to hammer out these schedules. Let's see if they can accomplish any good.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Price these positions to the CBA rate"

SecurityFirst's last post relays a question from a prospective bidder that was presented to the government's contracting officer. The bidder points to the CBA and basically asks if wage increases should be incorporated according to the CBA.

A careful reading of the solitication, however, reveals that TSA has exempted TSO's, LTSO's and STSO's from the SCA (Service Contract Act).

The solicitation uses a phrase like "in accordance with the ATSA", but in my humble opinion they are making it up! They don't reference where in the ATSA is a waiver of the Service Contract Act. I certaintly can't find it.

The solicitation is long but that doesn't mean it's done properly.

Contractor Requirements Per TSA

There are three SPP airports up for serious consideration for new qualified vendors. They are:

1. Kansas City International Airport, Kansas City, MO
2. San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco, CA
3. Jackson Hole Airport, Jackson Hole, WY

We've uncovered the lengthy document outlining the requirements that contractors bidding for an SPP airport are required to meet.

In the Contract agreement, TSA outlines in gory detail what is required of prospective contractors, including things such as how many yellow highlighters they will consume. What is most interesting is the ATSA comparison wage rates for 2010 on page 76. According to this chart, TSOs at pay band E should be making $61,422.16 a year to include the TSA Fringe. The TSA Fringe would be our benefits such as health and dental, etc. Note that these rates do not include 10 and 25 percent shift premium for working nights and Sundays, respectively.

Yet, TSA seems to contradict themselves when they are asked about this in the Q&A from prospective vendors. TSA states, "TSA's interpretation of ATSA compensation requirements are outlined in the solicitation. Each offeror may approach hiring and compensation as it sees fit based on the requirements outlined in the solicitation and subsequent contract."

When the question is about the premium shift pay, they refer the vendors to a broken URL.

The most fascinating thing about the Q&A is this question:
52.222-41(f) requires that a successor contractor pay wages and fringe benefits (including accrued wages and benefits and prospective increases) to service employees at least equal to those agreed upon by a predecessor contractor when the services to be furnished under the proposed contract will be substantially the same as services being furnished by an incumbent contractor whose contract the proposed contract will succeed. We note that there are SCA covered positions at SFO under a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Therefore, our understanding is that all bidders would be required to price these positions to the CBA rate. Given this, how does TSA intend to ensure that this requirement of federal law is met?
TSA's response is, "The government will ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations as necessary and in accordance with applicable policies." So if our understanding is correct, and we're opened to the possibility that we're not, then this would mean that if a new contractor were to take over, they would be required to honor our current and future wages and benefits.

A lot of the questions have to do with SFO and our CBA. It's understandable. Of the three airports, SFO is the biggest contract. So naturally, prospective contractors want to know specifics on our airport and its operations. Yet, TSA is unwilling to get in to too many specifics. Most of the answers are that that information is privy to the current contractor, i.e. Covenant Aviation Security.

One of the pressing questions we have, of all the SPP airports why these three in special contention? Is TSA determined to have new contractors for these airports or is this just a dog and pony show? Only time will answer these questions. We will just have to wait for the bridge contract signed in August to expire to get the answers to these questions.

We have uploaded all three relevant documents to Google docs. The contractor requirements is quite lengthy and a lot of it is useless information, but it's still a fascinating perusal. You can download the contractor requirements here.  The first Q&A here, and the second Q&A here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Update to the fire sale

We got word earlier today that one of those people fired for attendance was re-instated. Good for that person! The details of that particular case aren't important here on a public forum, but it seems that the company once again screwed up on such matters.

It should be obvious that Covenant Aviation Security would be wise to make certain they have all their ducks in a row BEFORE they terminate someone. Then again, we're just stating the obvious and over the last eight years it's apparent this company chooses to ignore the obvious time and time again.

It does seem that the union came through for this individual. And kudos to them! It's good to see SOME return on our investment.

Covenant Aviation Security no longer hiring

Well, at least not at SFO. According to their own web page, there are no more openings currently for their SFO location. Of course, this is nothing new. Covenant Aviation Security regularly hires and stops hiring due to operational needs. (Ooh, you like how I threw that in there?)

Supposedly, Covenant Aviation Security doesn't have a say in when and how many they are allowed to hire. The prevailing wisdom is that it is TSA who decides that.

So, if you had any friends or relatives interested, tell them they will have to wait. It will only be a matter of time. Hey, it's not as though people regularly quit their job with Covenant Aviation Security for a less paying and fewer benefits job, right? Nah!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Will they get it right this time?

Bid lines are scheduled to be previewed next week; will our wonderful management team fall flat on their faces once again?

It should not be that hard to figure out a schedule, just look at how many people are shifted around each and every day and to where.

That part may be beyond the capabilities of our mental midgets. We seem to have collected all the available village idiots and made them an offer that they could not refuse. At some point, after so many failed attempts to get it right, the axe should fall. But, as we all know, that rarely happens to the chosen ones.

Let's try something new! How about using a suggestion box in the EAC for our opinions and helpful suggestions? Let's ask the boots on the ground for some help, after all, we are the ones who have to live through the shortcomings and shortsightedness. This way you could shift the blame on us, because you will never give us any credit for anything good that happens around here.

As usual, we will be judging your efforts and voicing our opinions. Prove to us that our criticism is unwarranted and that you can learn from your mistakes.

Akal Makes the List

The sh!t list that is.

The United States Government Accountability Office just released a report titled "FEDERAL CONTRACTING Assessments and Citations of Federal Labor Law Violations by Selected Federal Contractors". This report features Akal Security.

You can find the report at

Obviously, Akal is responsible for its actions and may face the consequences. The report seems to suggest that the politicians are curious as to why these contractors maintain their eligibility, why the Department of Labor doesn't use its nuclear option to bar these contractors from bidding and working on federal contracts.

But if the politicos push to restrict competition across federal contracts, including the Screening Partnership Program, maybe its time to start talking about killing the SPP, instead of trying to gerrymander the thing to benefit operations like CAS/SEIU.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lori's and Firewood closing their pre-security locations

Sheesh, the food selection at SFO isn't great to begin with, but it's understandable why they're doing it. According to this SF Examiner article, the airport is looking to find ways to use those empty spaces, such as security queues.

For being an international airport, the selection of food @ SFO has always been lacking. And the choices in Terminal 2 aren't looking to be much better. It seems as though they're going to be an awful lot of high end restaurants. As though prices at airports in general aren't ridiculous to begin with!

Oh well, let's hope for better choices for employees by some other means.

Monday, October 4, 2010


In case you were wondering what is GASS (the program Roberto Cabelin recently left involuntarily), I took a look at the SFO Airport Commission's agenda and minutes for some enlightenment. GASS is not a TSA thing except TSA told the airports to strengthen some aspects of airfield security, such as vendor food shipments. But the airport foots the bill.

On September 19, 2006 the airport commission approved an emergency contract with Primeflight Aviation Services, Inc. for security inspection services.

On April 16, 2007, the airport put out a Request for Quotations for General Airport Security Services to replace the existing emergency contract.

On September 4, 2007, the airport authorized a pool of qualified firms.

On October 16, 2007, the airport selected the top ranked vendor, Covenant Aviation Security LLC. The contract was for two years at $1.2 million, with a mention of three one-year options.

And, of course, this can be found in the minutes: "Employees hired by Covenant Aviation Security LLC for this contract will be represented by SEIU." (See page 9 about halfway down the page.) No surprise there. Who knows if its legal, but there you go.

Folks, if you ever do business with San Francisco International Airport, that's how you play the game. I might wonder if there were other qualified firms that hadn't made the commitment to recognize SEIU, but that would be silly of me wouldn't it?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A sucker born every minute

You may or may not remember a post a month ago outlining exactly what happened with the Assistant Terminal Manager position recently filled by Barbara Alvarenga. Well, we have uncovered some new information on that position.

If what we can gather from this job posting on SFO's web site, then the Floor Supervisors that were dangled that promotion never had a chance. We don't know exactly when the job posting was posted, but the filing deadline was February 12, 2010. If Covenant Aviation Security, i.e. Donnie Filbert, was serious about leaving that position opened to their Floor Supervisors, then why would they have posted this on SFO's and other job websites around the same time they posted it for the Floor Supervisors?

One can only safely assume then, that Covenant Aviation Security never had any intentions of giving that position to their Floor Supervisors. Of course, we already knew this, but this gives us hard evidence of this fact.

We really hope that the Floor Supervisors are content doing the menial work of managers without the pay and title to go along with it.

The original job posting has been saved for posterity just in case SFO takes it down.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cost Analysis

A 2007 study commissioned by TSA found that screening cost at SPP airports were 17% higher than at TSA screened airports. When using a broader base that included all 450 airports the cost were only a mere 9% higher.
The study also pointed out that TSA maintains redundant administrative staff and overhead at SPP airports and that those costs artificially inflate the estimated cost at SPP airports. (But not by much.)

Recommendations from the study recommended that TSA should:

Reduce its own administrative and general cost at SPP airports,

Use SPP at hard to hire airports or at airports with large seasonal requirements. (SFO does not meet either of these definitions.)

This report was not released but refer to GAO-09-27R

So, why is it that TSA doesn't want to federalize SFO?

-Howard Beale

Former Covenant Aviation Security worker denied unemployment benefits

We stumbled across this story about a former Covenant Aviation Security employee being denied his unemployment benefits from Covenant Aviation Security. This former employee is not a TSO, LTSO, etc., he was one of the guys who performed security at the Annex next to International G.

According to the story, he was terminated because his supervisor claimed to have caught him sleeping. Roberto Cabelin, the terminated employee, denies that.

None of us here know the particular facts and since Covenant Aviation Security refused to comment on the story, we only have one side of the story. We've embedded the video attached to the story below. Judge for yourself.

Fire sale alert!!!

Reports are coming in that many people over the last week or so have been terminated, including some STSOs. Most are due to attendance and a recent drug and alcohol test performed.

There's not much to say on the attendance issue, is there? Really folks, it's always best not to play the game unless you have or need to do so. It's best to save your PTO when you need it. And always remember that there is Kincare.

In terms of the drug and alcohol tests, well, we all know that when we signed on the dotted line for this job that drug testing was part of the package. No real defense in this matter. The only question that does come up is the randomness of it. Is it truly random? You have employees that have been there 3, 4, 5+ years and have never been drug tested. Then you have employees who get drug tested multiple times in a month. Perhaps this "randomness" proves that it really is random. We'll never know.

Be that as it may, guys keep your nose figuratively and literally clean. If you are going to a party over the weekend, it's better to call in if you're not going to be able to get over your intoxication. Stay safe, and more importantly, don't do anything stupid to lose your job. It's far better to leave on your own terms, than on Covenant Aviation Security's terms.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Commenter "Anon" provides food for thought. In response to SecurityFirst he asks "what is a better alternative?" (to the SEIU?)

There may be several.

I'd like to hear from "Anon" or any other commenter what he or she would consider important in an alternative.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What a waste!

Have you seen the latest bulletin from SEIU in the break rooms? We certainly hope you have. After all, our collective $500,000 to $600,000 a year is being put to good use.

The thing that caught our attention on this bulletin was the blurb about most of baggage paying only 1.2% in union dues versus most of checkpoint paying 1.8%. They have the gall to try and convince us that the reason baggage lost their 4/10s and weekends was because most of the baggage community only pays the 1.2%! Really?!

So the implication is that SEIU is intentionally punishing the baggage community because they only pay 1.2%. Something stinks about that implication. In other words, if you don't pay the 1.8%, you're nobody to SEIU. What a way to garner more support guys!

The reality is that Covenant Aviation Security can pretty much do whatever they want, regardless of what the union thinks. In fact, we're more and more convinced that the company uses SEIU as their little play thing. After all, where are SEIU's lawyers when Covenant Aviation Security violates the contract? What is the penalty to CAS when they are in violation? Where are those damn chairs for TDC and all the exits as the CBA requires?

The more pertinent question we should all be asking is what exactly are we getting for that $500,000 a year we all pay them?

And how can anyone take our union seriously when in that very bulletin, as well as others, they repeatedly make the simplest of grammatical errors. Sorry to be a grammar nazi, but when you are using the possessive adjective of "their" it's spelled just as we spelled it. "There" is an adverb. Completely different words. If you're going to try and pass yourself off as some professional entity, do a little proof reading before you send things out like that.

The time has come folks. And we all need to ask ourselves: Is SEIU in our best interest?

Overtime is back...

Well, at least for baggage it is. Sorry checkpoint folks. You'll have to wait a little longer for that to come back.

After reports of dozens of checked bags missing several flights, management finally realized that staffing is still not adequate for the checked baggage demands. This really doesn't come as much of a surprise since international flights aren't generally affected as much by seasonal demands. But hey, what the hell do we know?

For those of you that need the overtime, let's hope that it continues. Then again, we have a bunch of newbies starting in baggage next week. Make certain to give them a warm Covenant Aviation Security welcome.

Monday, September 27, 2010

This madness has to end now!

This madness has to end! The treatment that CAS has deemed fit to bestow on the employees proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are not concerned for our well being. We will leave no stone unturned as we continue our campaign to be treated as respected, appreciated, professional employees under the TSA umbrella.

The working conditions have been steadily getting worse with no end in sight.

Management keeps turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to our concerns and suggestions. We will not stand by and watch our fellow employees being mistreated and abused without attempting to bring these injustices to light. How long will TSA just stand by and do nothing?

Thanks much to all involved for your help

Thanks much to all of you who reviewed the RFP and followed up with suggestions and opinions.

After much discussion and debate we have decided to challenge Covenant's ability to be considered as part of the bidding group for SFO. It is our position that CAS is in non-compliance with Factor 1., sub-factor 1.2. Factor 1 is a Pass/Fail category and any failure with any factor in Factor 1 removes the contractor from the bidding group.

We are in the process of submitting our position and reasons for our conclusion to the CBO, GAO, Office of Inspector General, Ingrid.Pascall-Lopez@DHS.Gov, Akal Security.

We will also be contacting Meg Whitman and Sara Palin asking them to review the connection between SEIU, the largest union in California and the biggest contributor to Democratic State and Local officials, and SFO.

Good luck to us all!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Covenant Aviation Security in for more litigation

The NY law firm Fitapelli & Schaffer have filed a wrongful termination suit against Covenant Aviation Security claiming their client was terminated based on religious discrimination. Presumably this case involves a termination in their JFK security operations. Covenant Aviation Security runs the security for the AOA of JFK.

To be fair, large companies like this are always being sued. Whether or not this case has any merits, will be decided on a judge and or jury.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Iron Man speaketh

Gerardo Sanchez called a meeting with the baggage supervisors the other day.  Terence Cunningham was in attendance as well. A number of issues were discussed. And all reports have indicated that Sanchez was well behaved. Perhaps he's finally learned his lesson? Nah, not a chance. Just recently people witnessed him going on a tirade against someone in one of the bag rooms. So much for new beginnings.

You have to be curious. Why does management continue to keep this buffoon around? He's incompetent. He is a hot head. And my God, have you ever had to sit through one of his superfluous talks where he goes on and on with these mindless metaphors? Hopefully you haven't, because we've heard that can be highly mind numbing as well as just bizarre. He has certainly done enough over the years to warrant terminating him.

So why do they keep him around? Is it because he deals with baggage and all the other managers don't want to touch baggage? Who knows?

What we do know is that he is outright despised by many working in and around management. And we certainly know that the work force abhors the man. Then again, that latter part is a resume enhancer at Covenant Aviation Security.

TSA moving closer to unionization

It may seem curious as to why we all should be concerned about TSA becoming unionized. Well, if the way we have been represented is any indication, then it could only be a negative thing for the nation as a whole. After all, our motto here is Security First.

What is funny is when the president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) Colleen Kelley states that, “Federal labor relations are set up so that the mission of every agency is of paramount importance.” Yeah, right!

When you couple things like TSA moving forward with unionizing and then TSA kowtowing to the ACLU in regards to the AIT equipment by changing the pictures an Officer sees to an avatar, you really have to wonder if TSA is truly serious about airport security.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Akal Security's Weak Point

Akal Security has a subsidiary Coastal International Security. One of Coastal's biggest revenue streams is from the Federal Protective Service. You may have heard about inspectors getting prohibited items past contract personnel at the Federal Protective Service. Might have been Coastal, may not have been, any identifying information was redacted on public reports.

Recently some Congressmen (led by Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi) have been proposing a pilot program (where do they get these ideas?) to convert some contract personnel to federal employees. If the program gathers steam, up to 15,000 contract employees could go federal. Good for them. Yet how will Coastal respond to try to hold on to this business? Hopefully not with any backroom deals.

Now I'm sure if the employees had a choice they'd rather work directly for the Federal Protective Service (where they are likely to be recruited by the American Federation of Government Employees, major contributors to Bennie Thompson's re-election campaign). But isn't it interesting that the politicians are finding Akal's weak point at the same time Akal is chasing business at San Francisco International Airport?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Covenant Aviation Security Seeks Qualified Baggage Instructor

If you remember, a couple weeks ago we posted about a baggage instructor position being opened to all baggage certified people. Well, the deadline has come and gone and they have reposted the position.

One wonders why this is. Is it because, unlike TSA, this position is for no additional money? Or is it because we already have two extremely qualified people that perform these duties, once again, for no additional money? Or perhaps they didn't get the right candidate to apply?

The other odd thing about this posting is that it is opened to supervisors. The word on the street is that supervisors are apparently too expensive. So why is it opened to them? Then again, Leads were apparently too expensive to be doing recruiting and that hasn't stopped them from continuing to use Leads in that function.

But hey, if the rumors are true, none of this should be an issue at the beginning of the year when supervisors may once again be denied a raise. Don't worry, the precious management team at Covenant Aviation Security will take one for the team with the denial of a raise if it does happen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

November 2 is Coming

The SEIU is the most famous contributor to Democratic campaigns after George Soros' non-profits. But we must be careful to distinguish between the SEIU and other unions. Other unions are close to many Democratic politicians, and may be useful to the TSO's cause in the future. SEIU's largest success in politics stems from the longtime support of Barack Obama by SEIU Local 1 in Chicago. So they have an inside track on some of President Obama's priorities, just like they used to have with Blagojevich in Illinois.

Heading into November, SEIU's political power is on a downtrend, in part because of the unpopular policies that Obama pushed and might benefit SEIU (Obamacare, stimulus, Michelle Obama's school lunch program). But that doesn't mean SEIU can't be useful this November. SEIU maintains a Committee on Political Education (COPE), which is built on voluntary contributions from their staff and members. And this committee can help defeat CAREER POLITICIAN DAN LUNGREN. LUNGREN is financially supported by GERRY BERRY, PRESIDENT of COVENANT AVIATION SECURITY LLC.

SEIU COPE will waste a lot of money this October and early November, but any money spent in support of Dr. Bera's campaign against two-time Congressman DAN LUNGREN is certainly welcome. They ponied up $5,000 in the primary, I say double down for the general.

Friday, September 17, 2010

September Madness

Once again we are getting a shining example of CAS management at their finest. The employee movements at both Checkpoint and Checked Baggage are in full swing. Available PTO slots for the month of September have vanished. Once again Operational needs outweigh our need to spend time with our families. Once again we are not suppose to have a life.

With the staffing levels so low we are asked once again to make up for the ineptitude of our wonderful management team. At what point will CAS admit to, what the rest of us already know, the fact that the people we have doing the job of scheduling need to be replaced? What has to happen for these realizations and revelations to hit them squarely over the head? Nothing has changed! These people are the new "Untouchables".

CAS will never admit that they made a mistake, so, let's just keep things the way that they are, maybe nobody will notice. Don't worry, we will gladly point out to you the deficiencies that we see in your managerial skills.

Get the staffing levels to the proper level. Live up to your contractual obligations that you have with TSA. Open up the overtime slots and stop trying to make it so we are all dog tired. We are reaching the breaking point.

When will TSA step in and do something about this!

BART Surcharge to Change

Sorry for reporting this so late, but for those of you that haven't been keeping up with the whole BART surcharge debacle, here is the latest. According to the SF Chronicle, BART is finally ready to reduce the airport surcharge from $4 to $1.50. The change is expected to take place in less than a month.

For those of you that are taking the shuttle from the Milbrae BART to the airport, that will of course end once this takes place.

Let's rant a little here. It is ridiculous that the airport and BART stick it to the very airport workers that run the place. Why is it that there's a surcharge for employees at all? Why can't they just end the surcharge all together for employees? BART will still continue to receive the standard fare. If they can find a way to reduce it to $1.50, they can find a way to eliminate the surcharge all together.

BART is another prime example of an inefficiently run government entity. They have continued to operate in the red for years with no immediate sign that they're going to ever get in to the black.

Couple this with the outrageous price of $225 a quarter for airport parking and you have the airport sticking it to the employees even more. Oakland charges approximately a third of what SFO charges their employees for parking.

SFO is notorious for their exorbitant prices. Remember, the out of whack landing fees at SFO is what caused Southwest Airlines to originally leave. One can only assume that Southwest worked out some kind of deal with the SFO bureaucracy in order for them to come back.

Meanwhile, worthless managers at Covenant Aviation Security, continue to get company paid parking privileges at domestic garages. One can only guess how much Covenant Aviation Security has to shell out for each of those parking passes.

Bottom line, BART is a crappy deal with or without the airport surcharge.

About Akal Security and Bureaucrats

The federal government has a website which tracks federal spending. Akal might not have the exact match experience of the chest-thumping Category X champion Covenant Aviation Security LLC. But Akal is not small. Usaspending lists contract awards to Akal Security in the amount of $238.7 million for fiscal year 2010 (the government's year ends September 30, so this is about one year's worth of contracts). This means Akal Security has a lot of work at military bases, federal buildings and courthouses, government owned research facilites or plants, etc.

In comparison, Covenant pulls in about $80 million a year a SFO. The other Covenant company - currently Covenant Security Services - is kind of sputtering but to be generous let's says Covenant has in total $100 million a year in federal work.

What's notable to me is Akal sometimes comes out on top when there are 20 bidders. Not one bidder. Not two bidders. A lot of competition. And the federal bureaucrats choose Akal. I expect they can play up their strengths and play down their weaknesses. Covenant, on the other hand, may not be as skilled in proposal writing: if they were, why isn't the other Covenant company winning contracts when Akal is the competition?

For what it's worth. If the government is inclined to pick Covenant Aviation Security, they may take eight months to work out their reasoning. Mostly, in my opinion, because Akal could protest the award if the reasoning is not sound. A bureaucrat's gotta do what a bureaucrat's got to do after all.

Checkpoint Lead Interviews have begun

For those of you that applied for the Checkpoint Lead position, we here at Security First @ SFO wish you all the very best. Let's just hope that they make a similarly wise choice for this position as they did with the recent Checked Baggage STSO position.

To those DFOs that were flat out denied an interview because you either made the mistake of going Dual Function or were drafted against your will in to the classification, we can only off our deepest empathy. It's a hard road to follow, but just remember that our CTX brethren were denied virtually any promotion for the last three years.

This current regime won't last. And then things will change, and then they'll change back to the way they were. The more things change, the more they stay the same. So just wait it out. Perhaps in due time, you will become loved again.