Organizations representing flight attendants, air marshals and other concerned groups protested a new policy, announced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), that would allow small knives and other potentially dangerous items to be carried on to commercial flights. Labor and community groups say that allowing these items on planes breaks down one of the integral layers keeping the U.S. aviation system secure.
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) President Veda Shook said:
Flight Attendants will not stand silently by as knives are re-introduced to the aircraft cabin. Flight Attendants serve as the last line of defense in aviation security, and we are responsible for ensuring the safety, health and security of everyone on board.
George Randall Taylor, head of the air marshal unit of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), was even more blunt:
It's as if we didn't learn anything from 9/11. Flight attendants are going to be sitting ducks.
The Labor Coalition for Community Action, which includes the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and Pride At Work, called on “TSA to ensure continued safety by keeping dangerous items out of the aircraft cabin.”
APALA Executive Director Gregory Cendana added:
APALA is proud to stand in solidarity with Flight Attendants and we will continue to voice our concerns to the TSA. Our members care about safety on planes, in our homes and communities. This decision by the TSA will put safety at risk.
Opposition to the policy also came from law enforcement. Jon Adler of FLEOA said:
If the TSA policymakers were engaged in close-quarter combat with a psycho wielding a two-inch blade at 30,000 feet, they might reconsider the foolishness of their decision.
More than 30,000 people signed a White House petition opposing the changes as of Thursday morning.
Visit www.NoKnivesOnPlanes.org to sign the petition.