TSA Hired 3000 Too Many Screeners
(Dated March 28, 2003)
Dear TSA Screeners:
It is important that I clarify for you news
reports generated by my testimony before the House Appropriations
Committee yesterday regarding potential reductions in the screener
workforce brought about by budget concerns. You deserve to know how
I intend to lead us through this challenging time.
Earlier this year, Congress passed an omnibus budget bill to
fund most government services through the end of the current fiscal
year. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the budget
allocation for TSA fell short of what we believed was needed to
adequately support the current level of operations.
As a result, we have been working hard to find ways to trim
budgets without diminishing our ability to provide the highest
level of service and security to the traveling public.
For several weeks, I have monitored the work of an internal task
force wrestling with the challenge of how to reduce our workforce
by up to 3,000 positions. The group is working hard on your behalf.
I have directed them to review carefully the staffing needed to
stand up our screener force across the country and to note
especially airports where the force is greater than the model
requires. Task force members have approached their job with great
care knowing that you are the first line of defense against
terrorists who would attempt to take weapons on board a plane. They
understand that you are the reason for TSA's success.
Nevertheless I do face some tough decisions about
whether we have the right number of screeners to adequately do the
job. What has not been reported is my intention to make
necessary staff reductions in a way that impacts as few screeners
To achieve the necessary savings, we will first look to reduce
our numbers through attrition, voluntary relocations of screeners
from airports with too many employees to those with not enough, and
conversion of some full-time positions to part-time positions. I
believe these measures will be enough, however it is possible other
actions will be needed to meet budget requirements.
You can expect to hear more about this process as early as next
week. Until then, I urge you to continue with your important
service to your fellow citizens. I have said many times you are all
patriots serving your nation in its time of need. I pledge to
do whatever possible to ease the stress of this process on you and
your families and will do my very best in responding to this
difficult budget situation on your behalf.
Sincerely, James M. Loy, ADM; Administrator, TSA
[Just another good reason to not let the screeners unionize?