Monday, January 31, 2011

There You Go Again, Gerry!

Mr. Gerald Berry of Winter Springs, Florida, has been quoted in the St.Petersburg Times, saying that the employees of CAS are very, very close in pay to our TSA counterparts. What he failed to say is what his definition of close means. Are we 1 dollar an hour away? 2,3,4 dollars an hour away? Please tell us just how close you want us to think we are? Unfortunately, we know the truth.

And while we are at it, let's talk about the shift differential we are not getting. Mr.Berry, we know about that also. You neglected to mention that juicy tidbit in your interview. It must have been an oversight, right?

We also suspect that, since Mr.Berry and Mr. Mica are in the same congressional district, they are drinking out of the same punch bowl. Is this an acid flashback from the 60's? We can't wait to hear more from this traveling road show. Look out, folks, the circus is in town!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Just one more post!

I can't pass up an opportunity to put in a piece about Mr.Mica's good buddy Mr. Gerry Berry.

Gerry Berry points out that an advantage a private contractor has is he can fire an undesirable employee much quicker. Well, if the hiring process was improved so that so-called undesirable employee was never part of the workforce that would not be an issue. So, Mr.Berry, what other benefits does having a private contractor add? Oh, yes, that's right! Reduced workers compensation, revenue sharing with the Airport Commissions and Re-election campaign contributions.

If we have left anything out, please inform us.

What drugs are John Mica taking?

The announcement from TSA that they will not be adding any additional airports to the SPP head count has Rep. John Mica angry. According to him, "nearly every positive security innovation since the beginning of TSA has come from the contractor screening program." Err, Mr. Mica, name one!

This has Mr.Mica saying that he will call for an investigation. Will his investigation gloss over the fact that it costs 9 to 10% more to have private contractors perform the same services? Will he also conveniently overlook the re-election campaign contributions and revenue sharing with the Airport Commissions?

Mr.Mica states that the TSA was never meant to become this giant 62,000 plus workforce. His solution? Just have TSA manage the private contractor screening processes. So, it will be 20,000 TSA oversight managers watching over the 42,000 private contractor employees. Is this not still a 62,000 member workforce? The only difference is the 42,000 private contractor workforce will cost you 9 to 10% more. Why would the Obama Administration want to increase expenditures when they don't have to?

Let's call for an investigation of Mr.John Mica and his backroom deals! Let's expose the real reasons for this call for opting out. What say you, my Brothers and Sisters!

Good Luck!

As most should know by now, Covenant is prepping for the upcoming opening of Terminal 2. And part of that prep work is getting enough leads and supervisors ready for that deadline. To be fair, most of the recent promotions were actually commendable. Let's hope they keep that going for this next round of promotions. Then again, knowing the powers that be, they just won't be able to resist themselves in promoting someone's boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you're taking the plunge and going to apply, we wish each and every one of you the best of luck. Just remember always to say yes and never question the omniscient management team of Covenant Aviation Security. After all, they have to make certain we all know who's the boss. As if that wasn't patently clear!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

SPP is Coming to an End!

Sort of. John Pistole, the head honcho of TSA sent out a memo to TSA announcing the end of the SPP. The catch? The 16 current airports that are part of the SPP, which yes would include SFO, aren't becoming federalized. Pistole is just not allowing anymore airports to become privatized "...unless a clear and substantial advantage to do so emerges in the future." Whatever that means!

That statement just reeks of some bureaucratic loop hole that might be used in the future. Stop being an organization of half measures. Either eliminate it entirely or let it continue. Sheesh!

Needless to say, the head of AFGE (the big government union that is currently seeking to represent the TSA workforce) is tickled pink over this prospect.

The burning question for all of us at SFO is what will this mean for us in the future? Will we ever become federal? I'm sure if the SFO Airport Commission has any say in the matter, that will never happen. After all, it's got to be nice getting all of those kickbacks from Gerry Berry and company for allowing Covenant to remain there. And what will this mean for Representative Mica (a pal of Berry's) for his quest to convert more airports to private? Only time will tell.

Here's Fox News' report on the matter:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

John Mica Road Show

John Mica, the Fl. Congressman who recently did some (blowhard) marketing for the screening partnership program, is reportedly planning a joint town hall meeting with Senator Barbara Boxer in Los Angeles.

Johnny Purse Strings and Sen. Boxer will avail themselves on the subject of "transportation". While John heads a committee in the House, Babs has the purse strings on the Senate side. Republicans and Democrats working together. To benefit their contributors no doubt! To show his eagerness to work with Barbara Boxer, may I suggest Johnny Purse Strings wear a purple tie?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To Be or Not to Be?

Well, that is the pressing question for DFOs right now. Herr Filbert sent out a memo stating that they will be inquiring as to whether or not DFOs would like to go back to single function. Apparently they're looking for a certain number to go one way or the other. But the more pressing question is why the change of heart?

For years it was all you ever heard from Jeff Pugh, our dear leader from the former regime: Dual Function this, dual function that. I swear the guy had dreamt sweet nothings whenever the topic of dual function came about. In fact, Pugh stated that as long as he was working at CAS, there would never be another CTX person hired.

Well, as we know by now, about a year and half after Pugh's forced departure, Filbert has a different opinion. I always theorized that the reason Pugh got such an erection about dual functions was because CAS somehow got TSA to pay more for dual functions. When you look at coverage and bodies, it never made any sense to have that many dual functions. So if that theory was correct, why would they have a change of heart all of a sudden? That's anyone's guess. I have my theories, but we can save that for another time.

So now that they're going to finally follow the SOP and require all baggage certified persons to be OSARP trained there is something that our 9000 Specialists need to be concerned about, and that is being out of a job. Well, they won't terminate you, but the need for your specialized position must certainly be in play.

Once they accomplish the training of all baggage certified persons, there will be approximately 200+ that will be OSARP certified. That is in addition to the 50 or so 9000 specialists SFO currently has. If I were a 9000 specialist, I would be looking for another job (hey, shouldn't we all be doing that anyway?) or see if you can somehow manage with an $8 an hour pay cut. And don't look for the union to protect you either. CAS is well within their rights to eliminate a classification. Also, don't forget that this is the last year of our current CBA and negotiations for the next contract will be starting again sometime this year.

Back to the original question of this post. If you're a DFO and considering going single function you do have to weigh some things. Keep in mind that most of the CTX TSOs are plank owners. So unless you're a plank owner yourself, you will be near the bottom of the seniority of the CTX classification. If you opt to go checkpoint, your seniority will certainly increase over time due to the inevitable attrition at checkpoint. Then again, would you really want to stay checkpoint every day where you're treated like children or stay in the bag room where you're treated as an adult? There is a reason why the churn over rate is so much higher at checkpoint than it is in the bag room.

I can't answer the question for you. In all honesty, you're probably better off not going single function for the time being and see how all of this plays out. If CAS gets to a point where they force you to choose, then you will have to weigh your options.

It's too bad that CAS is putting the DFOs through the same chaos that they put the CTX community in for the last couple of years. Keep your chin up, they're liable to change their minds again in another couple of years.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Union Representation For TSA Screeners

The cost, for letting the TSA rank and file become unionized, is expected to be in the neighborhood of 30 millions dollars. That 30 Million dollars will go to the union that gets to represent the workforce.

They estimate that the union dues will be around $50 a month. 50 bucks a month times 50,000 workers works out to be 2,500,000 per month. Not bad for a union that does nothing for their members.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Qantas Leaving SFO

Well, International A will soon be losing at least one of its airlines. Qantas is calling it quits at SFO citing that they get more business travelers out of LAX and Dallas/Ft. Worth is going to be the better option.

Hopefully this will alleviate some of the checkpoint congestion at International A. I'm sure the airport commission will find some other airline to fill that void. God knows International A has the room to expand!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

TSA vs. Us?

As most of you know, there has been a lot of talk in the media about airports choosing to opt out of TSA and go with a private contractor, ala SFO. And if you're a regular reader you know that we regularly rail against Covenant, TSA, and SEIU. Well, there was a puff piece that hit the wires a couple weeks ago by Washington Post journalist Derek Kravitz. Here's the link if you care to read the piece:

Mr. Kravitz actually contacted us. We reached out to him, but he ultimately didn't care to get a response from us in the end as he never followed up to anything we said to him. Such is life.

In the piece he did manage to track down Gerry Berry and got a few choice quotes from him. Notably this morsel: "We have to be good - equal or better than the feds. So we work at it, and we incentivize."

This was in response to the March Madness competition that is held every year. What is not mentioned is that we all know that the March Madness competition has only happened twice so far. Nor is it mentioned that it's not really opened to all TSOs, LTSOs, or STSOs. Yes, since it is a competition, they have every right to limit the contestants to people with no levels. But don't try to fool us or anyone else for that matter that it's the best of the best.

The incentivize part is the most interesting bit. What incentives are there working for CAS? Do the hard workers get bigger raises or bonuses than the poor or lazy workers? What about promotions? Yeah, yeah, we all know the answer to that.

Mr. Kravitz does manage to mention that private contractors cost 9 to 17 percent more than TSA. That's not hard to imagine when we see all the managerial redundancy between CAS and TSA.

The airport director at Kansas City, Mark VanLoh, like our own Mike Bolles, is under the impression that it's easy to get rid of poor workers at airports without TSA. Yeah right! When was the last time you heard of someone getting fired for being lazy? In fact, you're statistically more likely to get fired by being a hard worker than if you are lazy. The more bag checks and pat downs you do, the more likely you're going to make a mistake.

The problem with the current system is within TSA. Going private does not guarantee better security or service since we're required to follow the same procedures and mandates. Have we forgotten about the "extra security" that we had to do with hand wands? What about those forced ratios of pat downs required at the Walk Through? Or remember that experiment at Pier C when we forced passengers to take ALL of their electronics out of their bags? I bet the passengers were just tickled pink about all of that!

TSA needs to be fixed. And going private is not necessarily the solution. Better training and more investment in the work force so that that collective experience can be taken advantage of. Quick turn over of workers doesn't fix that. Not that poor or incompetent workers should be kept around.

So, Mr. Kravitz, when you're ready to talk and get a no-nonsense discussion about Covenant, TSA, and the whole SPP, you know how to get a hold of us.

She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes

It's that time of the year folks. Yes, the PSEs are fast approaching. Just remember, the tests aren't designed to trick you and it's not as difficult as you think it is. Take a breath and relax the best you can.

But remember, you do get three times to get it right. It's best to get it right the first time, but hey, none of us are perfect. For those of you that don't pass the first time, there is hope. You will be re-tested by one of those masters of intellect from the training lab, i.e., the Assistant Training Managers. And if you fail the PSE a third time you will be saved by the "Retain and Retrain" program...oh crap! Wait, that's only at TSA airports. Ahh...never mind. Well, hopefully you won't be secretly selected by management to be given extra special treatment on your retests. Because at Covenant Aviation Security, their motto is, "As soon as we hire ya, we look for any way to fire ya!"