TSA In the News: Tuesday November 23, 2010

Today has been a busy day for TSA in the news.  There are the standard reports of passenger complaints about the TSA after finally experiencing the new, enhanced security procedures, and also the lead up to National Opt-Out Day taking place tomorrow, the busiest travel day of the season.  

First we start with this report from Adam Savage of Mythbusters about his recent flight to Seattle and undergoing the full body image scan, while accidentally having contraband in his bag (Not necessarily safe for work or young children.)  It really shows how they have focused on one thing, but forgotten to check for the other methods that can be used to smuggle dangerous items in (And what he brought aboard in the cabin was extremely dangerous in the wrong hands.)

Second, and what I find an extremely important article, is this one published on CNNMoney about the issues the new procedures have created for the TSA agents forced to carry out the new enhanced pat-downs.

What I find the most interesting is the following bit:

Officers typically start at $29,000, but that's only if they're working full-time. New officers often start as part-time workers, said McCoy, at about $14 per hour. He said that part-timers, who make up 37% of the screener workforce at O'Hare, typically have to work four-hour days for at least three years before they're considered for full-time.

"I can't sugar coat this to these guys," said McCoy, who described many of the new employees as young students. "I tell them, 'Whatever you do, don't leave school.'"

McCoy says he makes about $42,000 a year in base pay, which is near the top of the officer pay scale. He said he relies primarily on overtime to support his family, especially since he pays nearly $500 a month for the TSA's healthcare plan.

Now McCoy is the senior TSA officer at ORD, and he still makes below the median income, and for the Chicago metro area, he makes very little.  I encourage everyone to read the article.  One thing we do have to keep in mind is that although we disagree with the procedures they are forced to implement, there are some very professional TSA officers, and when you see what they have to endure both income and treatment, we should always be courteous and professional in our interactions with them, even if we disagree with the policies they are forced to endure.  Also, here is the link to the posting on Fish's blog referenced in the article.  

For any of the standard stories, you can look at just about any news outlet.

And remember, if you are flying tomorrow, remember to enter for a chance to win an iPod Touch.