IMPROVING AMERICA'S SECURITY ACT--Continued -- (Senate - March 07, 2007)
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Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I ask the Chair to remind me when there is 1 minute remaining.
First, I commend the good Senator for offering this amendment. It is important to understand what it does not do. It does not provide a right to strike, a right to bargain over pay. It does not prevent TSA from responding to emergencies, and it does not prevent TSA from responding to new threats. This amendment does none of that, even though it has been distorted and misrepresented.
As the good Senator has pointed out, what are the existing attrition rates today? Look at the different security agencies, Immigration and Customs correctional officers, Secret Service and Border Patrol, and Transportation Security. This is the national security threat, the idea that the TSA has this kind of turnover. That is the nature of the threat, having to get new people after new people after new people, because workers don't have a right to speak and don't have the right to bring their grievances.
What is the result? Even in this agency we find out in terms of lost time and the injury rate, this agency leads the pack. What does it show? It shows it is poorly administered and the workers are not being treated fairly or are not treated with respect.
The McCaskill amendment is simple in what it does. The Border Patrol agents have these kinds of protections. FEMA has these protections. Immigration and Customs have these
protections. Unless we have the McCaskill amendment, we will not have the range of these protections for Transportation Security Administration workers. The others have it but not TSA.
What does the other side have against working men and women? How insulting, that these men and women will not put the security of the United States first. At the time of 9/11, under the Defense Department, they moved hundreds and thousands of civilians all around the country. They were all under collective bargaining agreements. Not one grievance was filed, not a single one. These men and women understood their duty. They understood the threat. They were patriotic Americans. What is it about the other side that questions that these are men and women of dignity who will do their job when this Nation is threatened? What is it about? It certainly wasn't there at 9/11 when their brothers and sisters who work for the Department of Defense agency were moved all around. They were prepared to do everything they were asked to do.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 1 minute remaining.
Mr. KENNEDY. Finally, as the good Senator has pointed out, as the smoke was coming out of the buildings in New York, when we saw the collapse of the first buildings and men and women under collective bargaining agreements were asked to go into those fiery infernos, no one was talking about collective bargaining agreements. They were talking about doing their duty to the United States. Let us permit these workers to do their duty. Let's give them these protections. Let's give them the kind of respect and dignity the McCaskill amendment gives them.
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