"Continuing his war on labor, DeMint blocks nominated TSA chief."
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC); Erroll Southers
In the aftermath of the attempted Christmas airplane bombing, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is unrepentant about his hold on President Obama’s nomination for the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the division of the Department of Homeland Security that handles airport security. Obama nominated Erroll Southers — a former FBI special agent, the Los Angeles World Airports Police Department assistant chief for homeland security and intelligence, and the associate director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events — to run TSA in September. Southers’ nomination was approved by two Senate committees, but DeMint has placed a hold on Southers “in an effort to prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union“:
Instead, the post remains vacant because Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has held up President Obama’s nominee in an effort to prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union. DeMint, in a statement, said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s alleged attempted attack in Detroit “is a perfect example of why the Obama administration should not unionize the TSA.”
DeMint claims unionization of TSA workers would give “union bosses” the power “to veto or delay future security improvements at our airports.”
Officials actually concerned with passenger safety disagree with DeMint’s hold. “Friday’s terrorist attack on U.S. aviation makes it all the more imperative,” Marshall McClain, the president of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association, said, “that there be no further delays in filling this crucial position.”