It has been 16 years since the Twin Towers fell on 9-11
It has been 16 years since the Twin Towers fell on 9-11, and we must remember why we first decided to step up and take an oath to defend the Airways of America. It is time to reflect as to where we were, some 16 years ago, when live television broadcast the pictures of 2 Airliners slamming into the Twin Towers. The shock that numbed one’s brain in disbelief, the witnessing of 2 Towers on fire and the horror of watching people jump out of windows to their death, and then the final moments of disbelief in witnessing the Towers come crumbling down. We later learned that the Pentagon was burning, and that a third Aircraft had crashed in Pennsylvania, where American citizens decided to stand up and fight back, rather than be a part of some Evil plan to cripple America and kill more innocent victims. Who knew, that we had an enemy, so ruthless, that they would use innocent civilians as fodder to accentuate their evil cause.
We saw the skies of America void of Commercial or private Aircraft. Nothing, but Military Jets were seen for days after the attack. Police in full riot gear, flooded the streets of America. WE didn’t know if a second attack was eminent, or if America’s Cities were ready.
Little did we know that as of 9-11-2001 America would never be the same.
I remember Americans setting aside our differences to come to the aid of the victims of 9-11. Today at least, we were One… United States. Do you remember the feeling that swelled deep inside, when Newscasters spoke of American Pride, and Unity. Veterans at the local AmVet Club, or VFW could be heard saying they would serve in the Middle East, in a second, if called upon. America was at WAR! Americans joined together and responded.
The news broadcasters kept saying the 9-11 Attacks were equivalent to the attack on Pearl Harbor. America and our NATO Allies were about to showcase their Military might, with General Swatzkopf leading the way. When America struck back, it was like a made for TV Movie. General Swatzkopf would narrate, and the videos would show the results. Yet the results were violent and real. Over 500,000 casualties are estimated in Iraq alone.
15 Years have come and gone for the original Rollout Group of TSA Screeners since early August of 2002. Look around you. How many old faces still remain?
Where did they all go?
Do you remember having over staffed lanes with every Lane open? Do you remember having a “Shoe Runner?” Do you remember having a Gate Team? Where are they hiding the Wands nowadays? A FOIA was done covering the last 10 Years and TSA hired 86,000 BUEs. As of today over 72,000 walked away from TSA Screening duties. This doesn’t count the 2002-2006 numbers. That number would push the count, well over the 100,000 mark of Fired or prior Screeners.
These numbers tell a story in itself. They tell of conflict, and strife within the ranks of Management versus the Screening Force. I have never seen a more cut throat time for Labor in my life. It was this “Beat down” mentality that brought the Union into the Picture. Anyone who says that AFGE hasn’t made a difference is lying. We went from White Shirts and Khaki Pants, to White Shirts, Red or Blue Striped Ties, and Ironed on Badges, to Blue Uniforms with a Powder Blue Stripe and a Metal Badge. This is when I stepped forward and volunteered my time to bring a Union to TSA. TSA Management threatened us, fired us, yet another always stepped forward to continue the Fight. It was that important.
There was a 10 Year struggle for AFGE to convince Congress to allow TSA to have a Union. It was Court decisions that chipped away at TSA and their Power structure. We still have only limited Bargaining Rights, but you have to have Baby Steps, before you can Run.
13 TSA Administrators and Acting Administrators have come and gone, but we’re still here! That says something?? Either you’re a Survivor or a Sadist. Look around and you will see how many new faces now fill the Checkpoints. Many of the new hires were only Babies or not even Born in 2001. It is your job to educate them on the struggles, and the History of the TSA Worker. I wish I could say that today, Labor and Management work hand in hand, but I cannot. The War continues. Is it as bad as in 2002-2012 probably not, but it isn’t ideal either. A lot of work remains. Another day… another Administrator, who has high hopes and a vision to raise Morale. We extend an Olive Branch.
16 Years have passed since 9-11, Keep remembering, where you were, the high hopes you had, the date you were first sworn in, the oath you took, and take this vision into the future.
Everyday a new twist comes our way. Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Zeka Virus, and now Fentanyl poisoning, yet we stay, doing the job that we volunteered to do, protecting America’s Airways. Remember November 3, 2013, LAX Officer Gerardo Hernandez gave his life doing the job he was sworn to do. March 2015 a crazed man attacks TSA Officers with Wasp Spray and a Machete, and we all came to work the next day.
9-11-2017, we have grown as an agency and more importantly as a Family.
I got your Backs my Brothers and Sisters!
It’s 9-11 and I got to get to work!
Not on My Watch…Not Now…Not ever!