Letter to the editor
This is in response to Richard Griffith's letter to the editor, in response to a Milt Zall column that appeared in Federal Computer Week's Oct. 15 edition.
Griffith's suggestion that private industry would be better at airport
security misses the point entirely. The point is, private industry WAS in
fact contracted for services and therefore responsible for the poor security
that was in place.
Once again, people will attempt to point the blame at others when facts
Private companies were/are given standard procedures to follow in airport
security. The failure squarely lies in the fact that Mr. Griffith states
in his reply: private industry's goal of a "less expensive" way to conduct
Where they found savings was in training. They saved money by not sending
employees to training seminars or classes, not hiring trained instructors
to conduct these classes and not hiring ethically trained supervisors to
oversee these employees at security checkpoints. We should also not forget
the pathetic wages these "security" personnel are given. Everything is sacrificed
in the name of profit and, unfortunately, peoples' lives.
To answer another of Mr. Griffith's questions, "Ever wonder why commercial
pilots and aircraft maintainers are paid more than minimum wage? They aren't
federalized." Again, he is mistaken.
Commercial pilots and others associated with the airlines are paid above
minimum wage not because they are privatized, but due to the fact that they
are unionized, although the flight attendants' and maintenance workers'
unions are far behind the increases enjoyed by the pilots. They are so far
behind, in fact, that a recent report on the Denver nightly news stated
that the United Airlines maintenance personnel have not had a raise since
1994, all in the name of profit.
Finally, Mr. Griffith's statement, "This keeps the government (tax-funded)
payroll minimized and keeps the commercial (tax-paying) payroll maximized.
Only nongovernment employees add to economic growth and vitality," is sadly
Here are a couple of facts Mr. Griffith is apparently very unaware of.
Federal employees do pay taxes. They pay federal, state, city and county
taxes. Oh, let's not forget Social Security and Medicare taxes, in addition
to their own medical and dental coverages. These taxes make their way into
the local and national economic communities. So, federal employees are giving
back the same way as do privatized employees.
As for economic growth, it is a known fact that new developments and
discoveries are found in the research community. The same community that
is government-funded. Another way our tax dollars are at work.
Private industry, on the other hand, is entrenched in a profit-at-all-cost
mentality. Expenses such as research and development are shown by the massive
layoffs at the slightest dip in stock prices. We need to look no further
than the predicament that companies like Enron have put employees and creditors
So, in my opinion, my answer is "yes" to federalization of the security
personnel at airports. In the end, it can be said that private industry
had the responsibility at first and sadly failed on all counts to live up
to their responsibilities to protect fliers' lives.
Their pursuit of the almighty dollar was something nobody could protect