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Old 11-06-2010, 02:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default American Airlines Pilots Revolt Against TSA

Clipped this from a aviation safety web site forum for your perusal....

This is a letter from Captain Dave Bates, the president of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents 11,000 American Airlines pilots, to his members, in which he calls on pilots to refuse back-scatter screening and demand private pat-downs from TSA officers. Bates's argument is multifaceted and extremely cogent. He worries about increased exposure to radiation, of course (a big worry among commercial pilots) and he is eloquent on the subject of intentional humiliation:

There is absolutely no denying that the enhanced pat-down is a demeaning experience. In my view, it is unacceptable to submit to one in public while wearing the uniform of a professional airline pilot. I recommend that all pilots insist that such screening is performed in an out-of-view area to protect their privacy and dignity.

It is a source of continual astonishment to me that pilots -- many of whom, it should be pointed out, are military veterans who possess security clearances -- are not allowed to carry onboard their airplanes pocket knives and bottles of shampoo, but then they're allowed to fly enormous, fuel-laden, missile-like objects over American cities.
Read the whole thing:
:
Fellow Pilots,

In response to increased threats to civil aviation around the world, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented the use of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners at some airport locations.
While I'm sure that each of us recognizes that the threats to our lives are real, the practice of airport security screening of airline pilots has spun out of control and does nothing to improve national security. It's long past time that policymakers take the steps necessary to exempt commercial pilots from airport security screening and grant designated pilot access to SIDA utilizing either Crew Pass or biometric identification. As I recently wrote to the TSA

Administrator:
"Our pilots are highly motivated partners in the effort to protect our nation's security, with many of us serving as Federal Flight Deck Officers. We are all keenly aware that we may serve as the last line of defense against another terrorist attack on commercial aviation. Rather than being viewed as potential threats, we should be treated commensurate with the authority and responsibility that we are vested with as professional pilots."
It is important to note that there are "backscatter" AIT devices now being deployed that produce ionizing radiation, which could be harmful to your health. Airline pilots in the United States already receive higher doses of radiation in their on-the-job environment than nearly every other category of worker in the United States, including nuclear power plant employees. As I also stated in my recent letter to the Administrator of the TSA:

"We are exposed to radiation every day on the job. For example, a typical Atlantic crossing during a solar flare can expose a pilot to radiation equivalent to 100 chest X-rays per hour. Requiring pilots to go through the AIT means additional radiation exposure. I share our pilots' concerns about this additional radiation exposure and plan to recommend that our pilots refrain from going through the AIT. We already experience significantly higher radiation exposure than most other occupations, and there is mounting evidence of higher-than-average cancer rates as a consequence."

It's safe to say that most of the APA leadership shares my view that no pilot at American Airlines should subject themselves to the needless privacy invasion and potential health risks caused by the AIT body scanners. I therefore recommend that the pilots of American Airlines consider the following guidelines:

Use designated crew lines if available.
Politely decline AIT exposure and request alternative screening.
There is absolutely no denying that the enhanced pat-down is a demeaning experience. In my view, it is unacceptable to submit to one in public while wearing the uniform of a professional airline pilot. I recommend that all pilots insist that such screening is performed in an out-of-view area to protect their privacy and dignity.

If screening delays your arrival at the cockpit, do not cut corners that jeopardize the safety of the flight. Consummate professionalism and safety are always paramount.

Maintain composure and professionalism at all times and recognize that you are probably being videotaped.

If you feel that you have been treated with less than courtesy, respect and professionalism, please submit an observer report to APA. Please be sure to include the time, date, security checkpoint and name of the TSA employee who performed the screening. Avoid confrontation.

Your APA Board of Directors and National Officers are holding a conference call this week to discuss these issues and further guidance may be forthcoming.
While I cannot promise results tomorrow, I pledge to dedicate APA resources in the days and weeks to come to achieve direct access to SIDA for the pilots of American Airlines. In the meantime, I am confident that you will continue to exhibit your usual utmost professionalism as you safely operate and protect our nation's air transport system.
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Interesting ... thanks for posting
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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SWAPA has advised refusing the scan as well.
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Anyone can refuse the scan. Passengers or Aircrew. If you refuse however you will get the enhanced other screening option. APA is only saying to opt out of the backscatter machine as allowed for anyone going through security. Really nothing to see here.
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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So in a nutshell, follow the rules and be professional. Not much a revolt, is it. Now if APA advocated refusing the new screening technique, that would be a revolt. But the won't because it would be illegal, which is the definition of revolt.

-verb (used without object)
1. to break away from or rise against constituted authority, as by open rebellion; cast off allegiance or subjection to those in authority; rebel; mutiny: to revolt against the present government.
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Though everyone has the right to refuse the AIT machines, this kind of stance is important to be published.

Without it, you're much more on your own by consistently refusing and encouraging/education your fellow crewmembers to do the same. You may end up getting yourself labeled as a problem child, which is never good. With this kind of backing, you are much more likely to find your coworkers doing the same and its no longer you sticking out, its you following the guidance of your union.

This may not be important at many airlines, but at some airlines with very heavy handed / threatening management practices, it could make a world of difference. This is why we need this sort of statement from ALPA.

Secondarily, having major organizations advising their members to refuse may have potential to push for having a flight crew exemption, expansion of crewpass, etc. It could benefit us all.
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm going commando, and when I get the "advanced" screening, I'm dropping trau to prove I don't have a gun....

Take that TSA!
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Remember to follow these steps:

1. Actually say, "I opt out".

2. Request a PRIVATE screening

3. Demand that an LEO or airline rep witness (NOT TSA) be present for the screening

Kudos to APA. This is the type of leadership that needs to occur for us to truely have any chance of "Taking it back".
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Old 11-06-2010, 08:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I gotta play devils advocate here. It is very easy to get an Airline Unoform and a Fake ID. Show some patience and be professional as you go through the same hassle you passengers and customers have to endure. Now I do think this should be a negotiating item in contracts for icreased time and inconvenience. It is time to be getting paid more while the door is open. Think of it like Baggage Fees and other Ancillary Revenue the company is getting. We need to add some TSA Security Rig to our per diem.
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Old 11-06-2010, 09:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfun View Post
Anyone can refuse the scan. Passengers or Aircrew. If you refuse however you will get the enhanced other screening option. APA is only saying to opt out of the backscatter machine as allowed for anyone going through security. Really nothing to see here.
Nothing to see other than how a union correctly issues a statement. No weasel words and ambiguity as is so prevalent in the statements of ALPA.

Nicely done APA.

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