NJ lawmaker: Rude TSA airport screeners must stop ‘barking’ at travelers
A New Jersey lawmaker says security agents at Newark Liberty International Airport should undergo some “civility training" and stop "barking" at passengers.
“Yesterday I visited Newark Airport to review the conditions at the security gate. Travelers must wait more than one hour and are treated poorly. This cannot stand. TSA must act immediately and we need to treat the traveling public with respect,” Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, aid Friday morning on his Facebook page.
This wasn’t the first time that Transportation Security Administration agents have gotten a rise out of Bramnick. Back in February he called for the TSA to train personnel on how to “be more respectful to passengers,” saying that the agents “are becoming more and more frustrated with their jobs” and “appear to bark at the travelers.”
“Since the tragedy of Sept. 11, travelers must be silent at all times and are afraid to raise any issue with the personnel that stand at the scanning machines. I am speaking for those who fear raising their voice and I will continue to raise this issue until all TSA agents treat travelers at Newark Airport with respect.”
Bramnick and other travelers should probably get used to it: hours-long lines and missed flights have become routine at Newark and other airports, and they’re about to get worse as the number of flights out of Newark takes off during the summer travel season.
The TSA was created as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While the agency is supposed to be on the forefront of securing the nation's airports and skies, it has faced enduring criticism of its ineffectiveness and invasive procedures.
The president of the TSA workers union acknowledges the long lines and customer-service complaints but says the solution is to hire more workers.
The TSA has asked to boost its national 42,000-officer workforce by about 1,000. But President Obama's proposed 2017 budget only includes funding for an additional 470 workers. The union says the federal government should hire another 3,000 workers.
“The problem is simply that TSA hasn’t hired enough officers for the record number of passengers that large airports are seeing. The only safe way to shorten wait times is to hire more Transportation Security Officers. It’s as simple as that,” Hydrick Thomas, president of the American Federation of Government Employees TSA Council, said Monday.
Earlier this year, New Jersey’s two U.S. Senators — Cory Booker and Bob Menendez — joined U.S. Reps. Albio Sires and Donald Payne Jr. on a letter asking TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger to address staffing at Newark’s airport.
In response, Neffinger instructed TSA to hire additional workers for Newark for the summer season, but didn’t reveal how many more workers that would be.