BPR Special Meeting Recap
BPR Special Meeting Recap
The Board of Pilot Representatives met at 0930 ET at the Hyatt Place Charlotte/City Park for a Special BPR Meeting.
The agenda included:
- [Blah, blah, and blah...]
Roll was called at 0930. President Mike Cleary reviewed the [blah, and blah blah blah...]
President Mike Cleary prefaced the Security Committee’s update by providing further detail on a TSA incident that has truly damaged one of our union brothers. After being selected for the TSA’s new, enhanced pat down procedure, this pilot experienced a frisking that has left him unable to function as a crewmember
. Words used to describe the incident include “rape” and “sexual molestation,”
and in the aftermath of trying to recover this pilot has literally vomited in his own driveway
while contemplating going back to work and facing the possibility of a similar encounter with the TSA. This is obviously a very serious matter and it weighed heavily in President Cleary’s decision to call this special BPR meeting.
Security Committee Chairman Steve Sevier began his report with a briefing on the new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) scanners. According to the TSA there are now 317 in use at 65 airports with a total of 450 to be deployed. While the TSA makes claims that the radiation emitted by AIT is similar to that of a chest x-ray, pilots are already exposed to considerable radiation as a function of working at high altitude and should be aware that no actual numbers are published for how much radiation is involved. Captain Sevier explained that the AIT’s radiation is concentrated on the outer skin (they don’t even look at the body internally,) and that they have been shown to be particularly hard on the face and upper neck
. He noted that doctors have counseled several of our pilots – one recovering from pancreatic cancer – to not even go near these machines. Further evidence of the hazards of ambient radiation from the AIT scanners is found in California, where prison employees aren’t even allowed in the room when they are in use
. Finally, Captain Sevier pointed out that TSA personnel are prohibited from wearing dosimeters that would provide data on just how much radiation they are being subjected to
by working around the AIT scanners.
Captain Sevier continued by reviewing what we know to date about the TSA’s protocol in applying their new procedures. First, they are purposely random in their application as a means of maintaining effectiveness. While we all recognize how ludicrous this is for pilots who are just trying to reach their aircraft and get to work, we must remember what the TSA’s actual mission is. Once a pilot is inside the “security area,” meaning in the maze of lanes routing them to the screeners, any refusal to submit to screening from that point forward might result in an arrest. Further, at airports that have multiple lines, with some leading to metal detectors and others leading to AIT scanners, pilots cannot switch lanes once becoming aware that they are in the AIT line. When aware of the pending AIT screening, pilots and passengers alike are allowed to opt out of going through AIT, but must then submit to the enhanced pat down. Failure to do so can, again, result in your arrest.
At this time, your Security Committee is strongly recommending that pilots opt out of the AIT screening
. While the Security Committee works in conjunction with our fellow pilots at American, Southwest and UPS (CAPA) to convince TSA leadership, senators and industry leaders to gain relief from these onerous security checks, it is important to keep the following in mind: Keep your cool. Be professional in dealing with the TSA and simply state "I prefer to opt out of the AIT Scan and I would like to request a private secondary scan."
For further information, as well as information about how to handle improper TSA demands for two forms of identification, please go to the USAPA web site and read the Security Committee’s latest update.
The BPR discussion explored many of the peripheral issues surround these new TSA procedures, including Crew Pass and the reasons that program stalled after the testing phase, the possible legal ramifications of refusing the enhanced pat down once in the security area, International requirements or changes, the need to stand up for our Flight Attendants, and exactly what our best course of action is with regard to teaming with other labor groups in our upcoming response.
After lengthy discussion the BPR crafted and passed the following resolution:
, the USAPA Security Committee, based on its review of currently available medical information, has determined that frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks, and
, other pilot unions associated with USAPA, share the view that frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks, and
, the TSA-operated scanner devices subject pilots to a level of intrusiveness not required by security considerations in view of the availability of alternative techniques including magnetometer devices or crew pass procedures
, the USAPA Security Committee has recommend to all USAPA-represented pilots that they avoid exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices by either using security access points utilizing magnetometer devices or, where security access points utilizing magnetometer devices are not available, electing to submit to a TSA-agent pat down as an alternative to subjecting themselves to TSA-operated scanner devices [BOO!!!], and
, a USAPA-represented male pilot has recently reported that, after being required to submit to a TSA-agent pat down, he suffered sexual molestation at the hands of a male TSA agent
, USAPA legal counsel has submitted to the TSA a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that USAPA be provided with all documents pertaining to TSA protocols applicable to the proper administration of TSA pat downs
, USAPA-represented pilots and pilots represented by other pilot unions belonging to the Coalition of the Airline Pilot Associations (CAPA) have expressed their concern that they be subject to abusive pat downs by TSA agents or other retaliatory measures in exercising their right to opt for a pat down in lieu of subject themselves to TSA-operated scanner devices
, the risk of being subject to abusive or retaliatory pat downs has recently been increased by the TSA’s implementation of a new policy that forbids a person who has once entered a security access line from removing himself from that line, upon discovering that the access point utilizes TSA-operated scanner devices, for the purpose of seeking an security access point utilizing magnetometers
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT
1) USAPA’s President and Security Committee coordinate with all pilot union leaders to promote a unified response to TSA abuses of the pat down process and to seek less intrusive security procedures, including the expanded use of crew pass procedures for all airline pilots on duty and in uniform, and
2) In coordination with the President, the Security Committee develop within two weeks time a monitoring program of TSA pat down practices to include a system for obtaining information from USAPA-represented pilots concerning TSA abuses of the pat down process, and
3) USAPA legal counsel be authorized to utilize information collected through the Security Committee’s monitoring program to seek the discipline and/or termination of TSA agents engaging in abusive pat downs, and
4) USAPA legal counsel be authorized to exercise the full weight of the Freedom of Information Act, and any other appropriate laws, to obtain documents pertain to the proper conduct of the pat down process, and
5) The BPR advises the Pilots of US Airways to use the option to “opt out” of AIT scanners if directed to go through the machines by the TSA, and
6) The BPR directs US Airway’s pilots that if they are subjected to the “enhanced pat-down” procedure it is your right to request a private screening. The BPR also recommends that any pilot subjected to the “enhanced pat-down” procedure make sure that a witness, preferably a crewmember, accompanies them during the pat-down
7) The BPR directs US Airway’s pilots that if they are subjected to the “enhanced pat-down” procedure they should evaluate their fitness to continue their flight assignment.
[4 or 5 more pages of blah, blah, and blah..]
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