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Jan 20, 2006

Comments

Screener Winkle

Reality: screening is a lousy, boring, dirty job. You see a lot of angry or anxious people, you smell their BO, you x ray their crap, you see their dirt. It doesn't pay well. It has no future; are you kidding that we can be armed air marshals???? Who would put a gun in our hands? Are you nuts.

TSA being a bureaucracy, there is endless complaining, Catch-22ing, ass-grabbing, towel-snapping, girl-on-girl harassment, etc. Of course there are grievances and complaints. Just think if we had a union.

I am not happy with POGO's interest. You would think we were corrupt. We are not. We are just not competent. Some of us are not even continant. You should see what they do to bags that get opened up out of sight.....

Screeners Central

"Use your head," indeed. Attacking the author of the story for a mistake is one thing (re: Airport Categories) is one thing. Damning the entire article because of it is disingenuous.

(I note that POGO did correct the earlier mistake concerning the airport categories.)

You say that "some of the answers are not going to have acceptable satisfaction levels." The fact of the matter is that many -- arguably most -- of the responses do not have "acceptable satisfaction levels." The results go far beyond a simple matter of suggesting that some screeners don;t like a few things about the TSA. The results clearly illustrate that (when the survey was taken) there was widespread dissatisfaction among screeners.

To say that "many of us don't think that their is much discipline" is misleading, I think. While your experience may differ, mine is that screeners are unfairly disciplined, that abuse is widespread and the TSA's disciplinary policies are unequally applied. The problem, as I understand it, is management.

You assert that "(b)ad performing screeners are not let go because they can't be replaced," whereas I posit that good screeners are terminated because they file complaints of abuse and/or disagree with management.

My experience (based on personally handling onelengthy EEO case, comments from a number of other screeners, as well as news reports, court documents, et al) is that screeners who don't fall in line are drum out of federal service, often on trumped up or exagerated charges.

You also assert that "(m)any changes have taken place since the survey was done." The only changes you you cite are the creation of "Screener Advisorary" and "Leadership Advisorary Councils." My sources indicate that these are often paper lions, with screener "input" summarily dismissed by those management officials who care not to listen to them.

Aside from the "councils," however, you do not offer any other examples of changes made as a result of the OAS. My impression is that the changes that have been made have more to do with appeasing Congressional and media inquiries than with raising the morale of the TSA's self-proclaimed "most valuable resource" -- the screeners.

Certainly there are some good managers out there. My complaint is not with them. But to suggest that there is no morale problem within TSA is flatly ignorant, in my opinion.

I am very glad that POGO has taken on this issue and brought it to the atetntion of the media. It is something I have been trying to do for some time. Kudos to POGO.

UPDATE: My own FOIA request resulted in receiving the same materials from the TSA that POGO received. The final fee that I am being charged is around $400. It's apparent to me that the TSA would have never released the requested documents had it not been for POGO's own FOIA request.

The fact that I was then charged for the same documents that POGO received for free is not lost on me either. TSA has simply continued its history of trying to bully people into submission, whether within or outside of the agency.

Screener Joe

This story is very flawed. A lack of knowledge of the writer is very evident. Claiming that the "five airports surveyed" being "hidden" is incorrect. X1-X5 identifies the size of airports, not individual airports. Picking out numbers that have high dissatisfaction numbers only are being used to display dumb results. If a procedure has been identifed for doing something, like identifing an IED (a bomb) supervisors are trained to do this. So, risk taking in doing your job, like opening up a bag with an IED image, is NOT allowed. So NO risk taking is not an acceptable alternative. Checking 100% of the checked baggage is a procedure, so risk taking in only checking the ones a screener feels like checking is NOT an acceptable risk either. Use your head, some of the answers are not going to have acceptable satisfaction levels. Am I saying communication is good, no. Am I saying the process for doing the screener job is democratic, no. The supervisor is in charge of the work area. Are disciplinary actions applied fairly, no, many of us don't think that their is much discipline. Bad performing screeners are not let go because they can't be replaced, and the old adage that too much was spent on training them. Many changes have taken place since the survey was done two years ago. We now have Screener Advisorary Councils, Leadership Advisorary Councils and they do make some input. I still do not feel that some management is in touch. I also feel that some management has ego trip problems in being like little dictators.

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