Cites Security Issues
The Aircraft Mechanics
Fraternal Association (AMFA) Wednesday expressed support for a bill
(HR 4582) introduced by New Jersey Congressman Rob Andrews that
would require anyone who works on a US aircraft at an outsourced
repair station -- either domestically or overseas -- to undergo an
FBI background security check.
"Congress has a responsibility to protect our nation from
another terrorist attack," said Congressman Andrews. "If we do not
implement tough safety standards for all persons working on US
aircraft, both at home and abroad, then it's a dereliction of our
duty. It is imperative for Congress to act now."
According to AMFA, today US airlines outsource over 50 percent
of aircraft maintenance to these repair stations -- with workers at
over 3,000 domestic and nearly 400 foreign stations having full
access to US planes.
The FBI background checks have long been mandatory for aircraft
technicians employed by US airlines, but no such guidelines exist
for workers at outsourced stations.
The union maintains this plan compromises security, and the
proposed legislation will close this security gap that leaves the
US vulnerable to sabotage and attack.
"In the post-9/11 era, it's scandalous that the planes Americans
fly on are increasingly being worked on by people whose backgrounds
have never been checked," said AMFA National Director O.V.
Delle-Femine. "We've been pushing for Congress to adopt legislation
like this for years. Congress needs to do the right thing now by
protecting the security and safety of the American public,
including our members and their families."
Earlier this year, Delle-Femine said, federal agents arrested 27
illegal immigrants from the Philippines, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Chile,
Laos, Mexico and Peru who were working for TIMCO, an outsourced
repair vendor whose customers have included Northwest and other US
commercial passenger and cargo airlines. One of the arrested
illegal immigrants had been working on aircraft at TIMCO for a
decade, using false documents.
AMFA's craft union is the largest labor organization in the
airline industry representing aircraft maintenance technicians and
related support personnel with over 18,000 members at carriers
including Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines,
Northwest Airlines, ATA, Independence, Horizon and Mesaba