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ALPA doesn't take the "No AIT" stand

densoo

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as APA and USAPA did. Just more of "we shouldn't be treated this way."

November 12, 2010 - The recent policy decision by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to amend security screening procedures by requiring all persons, including airline pilots, to be subject to screening by Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines and/or pat-down searches is the latest change in a long line of ever-increasing security measures that have frustrated and burdened airline pilots. Airline pilots are trustworthy by definition of their employment and responsibilities. They are very heavily scrutinized and evaluated on a daily basis; they have been subjected to extensive FBI background checks and thousands are deputized as Federal Flight Deck Officers by the TSA who carry and are authorized to use lethal force while on duty to defend the cockpit from a terrorist threat. Screening airline pilots for the possession of threat objects does not enhance security because pilots have the safety of their passengers and aircraft in their hands on every flight.

Captain John Prater, ALPA President, has had numerous high-level discussions with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole over the past several days concerning this issue and has made specific, confidential recommendations on how it should be addressed. The Association’s concerns have been heard and are being examined by the Administration with the goal of finding acceptable solutions.

ALPA is actively promoting to the government and industry an enhanced screening system for airline pilots that will provide a higher level of security than currently exists. The Association is also publishing guidance to its members today on their present options and rights as they transit the security screening checkpoint system.
 

Dizel8

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Seems to me, ALPA is pushing hard for getting crew pass implemented ASAP and hopefully they made an impression on Pistole. I applaud APA's stand on the issue, but just saying no isn't a solution long term. Notice, APA's said no to the AIT, which now leaves the "aggresive patdown" as the only option. We need the only viable long term option, CrewPass.

ALPA: The Pilots Union




ALL ALPA MEMBERS

November 11, 2010

Dear Members:

The recent policy decision by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require that all persons, including pilots, be screened by Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines and/or highly intrusive pat-down searches is the latest change in a long line of ever-increasing security measures that unnecessarily frustrate and burden airline pilots.

Instead of merely complaining to the media about the changed procedures or writing to you with advice on the security screening options that you already know, I decided to try to change the U.S. government’s decisions. I have told our members and representatives on numerous occasions that your union’s influence in government, legislative, and regulatory matters is based upon our access to the highest levels of this government, and that access is due to ALPA’s long-term commitment to provide member expertise and dedicated professional staff to find solutions, instead of merely making media noise.

Last Thursday I contacted the White House with our concerns. On Friday evening, ALPA staff and I met with the TSA to present our members’ serious concerns with AIT screenings and pat-down frisking and, more importantly, to offer solutions to the issue. On Wednesday, TSA Administrator John Pistole called me to discuss both the concerns that ALPA has with the new screening procedures and reviewed the solutions that I had offered to the agency. Administrator Pistole committed to me that he and the TSA will work with me, our Security Committee, and ALPA staff to find a solution in the near term to the immediate concerns of ALPA pilots and in the longer term to implement crew access procedures.

Administrator Pistole informed me that the agency is fully on board with implementing CrewPASS, which is one of our Board of Directors priorities. Following the call with Pistole, I joined AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka to meet with the Speaker of the House and House leadership at the Capitol to discuss a wide variety of issues that affect workers and ALPA members including the current security dilemma that we face.

I know that each of you has the same question about CrewPASS: where is it? As you know from issues of FastRead and Air Line Pilot magazine over the past few months, we have been working with the TSA, airlines, MEC representatives, and IT vendors to promote the implementation and availability of CrewPASS. A few months ago, I wrote to each of the U.S. airline CEOs and your MECs that ALPA had received government approval for nationwide implementation of CrewPASS. I have also shared all details of ALPA’s CrewPASS efforts with APA and SWAPA, the unions that represent the American and Southwest pilots. Yet only one MEC, Alaska, has been successful to date in working with their management to have the company pay for and implement this enhanced security access system for pilots.

Let me be clear about the problem that has prevented CrewPASS from becoming a nationwide reality: it is simply who pays for the service. Your companies have so far refused to pay the very minimal annual costs (approximately $50 per pilot) to make this a reality, and there is no government funding for this program. Yet today, as many of you have recently experienced, we are facing a more distinct and urgent need for CrewPASS than ever before.

Accordingly, I have directed our Communications Department to post a Web survey tomorrow (Friday, November 12) to ask you for your input about the best way to “jump start” CrewPASS and provide this security access system for you in the very near term. Look for an announcement about that survey in Friday’s FastRead with more details.

Also, since many of you have requested more information and direction on the options that working pilots have when they are faced with airport screening by AIT, I have directed our National Security Committee to develop a comprehensive security operations bulletin with information that it has gleaned about AIT screening and pat-downs at an invitation-only TSA conference held earlier this week, at which ALPA was the only union invited to attend. Look for that bulletin not later than Friday as well.

The mark of a professional pilot is how well he or she deals with adversity under all circumstances. These are surely trying times, but I am optimistic that this present situation will be resolved in the near future. Along with members of the ALPA security team, I have been screened by AIT equipment at various airports and have endured the aggressive pat-downs that are used when AIT screening is declined or anomalies are discovered. I know exactly how many of you feel about this screening process, because I have experienced it as well and completely understand why it is so offensive.

I respect your continued professionalism as we work toward what I am confident will be a successful resolution of this issue. I will update the Board and the members this weekend with further developments.

Yours in Solidarity,

John Prater, President



ALPA: The Pilots Union
 
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BornAgainPagan

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as APA and USAPA did. Just more of "we shouldn't be treated this way."

November 12, 2010 - The recent policy decision by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to amend security screening procedures by requiring all persons, including airline pilots, to be subject to screening by Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines and/or pat-down searches is the latest change in a long line of ever-increasing security measures that have frustrated and burdened airline pilots. Airline pilots are trustworthy by definition of their employment and responsibilities. They are very heavily scrutinized and evaluated on a daily basis; they have been subjected to extensive FBI background checks and thousands are deputized as Federal Flight Deck Officers by the TSA who carry and are authorized to use lethal force while on duty to defend the cockpit from a terrorist threat. Screening airline pilots for the possession of threat objects does not enhance security because pilots have the safety of their passengers and aircraft in their hands on every flight.

Captain John Prater, ALPA President, has had numerous high-level discussions with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole over the past several days concerning this issue and has made specific, confidential recommendations on how it should be addressed. The Association’s concerns have been heard and are being examined by the Administration with the goal of finding acceptable solutions.

ALPA is actively promoting to the government and industry an enhanced screening system for airline pilots that will provide a higher level of security than currently exists. The Association is also publishing guidance to its members today on their present options and rights as they transit the security screening checkpoint system.

OK. What part of that says that ALPA does not take the "No AIT" stance? I am not defending ALPA as I am no fan. But, I think you're confused.
 
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densoo

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OK. What part of that says that ALPA does not take the "No AIT" stance? I am not defending ALPA as I am no fan. But, I think you're confused.

They didn't take a stance. They don't like it and they're studying it, but that's not stance.

They need to take a position. Like this: "ALPA recommends that pilots NOT go through the AIT until further notice. Additionally, ALPA recommends all pilots request a private pat down after opting out of the AIT." This is what needs to be said.

APA told 12,000 pilots, USAPA told 6,000 pilots. Great. That's starting to get some media traction, pressure on TSA, and Congress. ALPA speaks for 53,000 pilots. 53,000 opting out of the AIT would accelerate this whole process by magnitudes.

It is time to get this done. It is on the radar for some key agencies. If ALPA bureacratically committees this away there won't soon be another chance.
 
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Bringupthebird

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USAPA told 6000 pilots, so that means about 1500 listened. More like 15 listened 100 times each .
 

Lowrider717

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No mention of privacy/constitutional issues in the new blast email. ALPA has truly failed on this one.
 

NEDude

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Sometimes going to the media is the only way government will listen. It looks like the actions of APA and USAPA in talking to the media about the scanning may actually be putting some pressure on the government to get this thing up and going.

Question about crewpass - can it be used for commuting/deadheading crew members, or is for use only when you are actually working the flight?
 

Draginass

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ALPA are a bunch of dolts, now run by the chief dolt, Lee Moak. The sooner Delta pilots dump that RJ union, the better.
 

densoo

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ALPA Security Alert 2010-04

A LOT of background information, but here are the recommendations (I still think they should say "don't use the AIT" as it would be a job action of sorts having the effect of slowing down the whole process and creating a great deal of urgency from the TSA, the airport, and the airlines to get CrewPass up now):

Recommendations
The TSA does not currently differentiate between passengers and crewmembers regarding the use of AIT at airport checkpoints. ALPA categorically objects to this policy and is currently engaging government policy makers to bring short-term and long-term relief from this process to all flight crewmembers.
As we pursue that effort, we offer our membership the following guidance:
· TSA permits you to opt out of AIT screening. If you do so, you will be required to submit to a pat-down screening which you may find invasive of your privacy.
· Maintain a professional demeanor at all times, as your actions are on public display and are likely being video-recorded
· If selected for pat-down screening, request a private search. Note: ALPA has made an inquiry of the TSA to determine if they will permit a pilot to have a witness with them during pat-down searches. The answer to that question will be relayed to the membership upon receipt.
· If you encounter suspected unprofessional and/or inappropriate behavior by checkpoint screeners, file reports with the TSA checkpoint supervisor, your chief pilot’s office, and your MEC Security Committee Chairman/Coordinator
· Be aware that your Ground Security Coordinator will not be able to aid you in resolving difficulties at the screening checkpoint
· Be advised that the National Security Committee is updating and will soon publish a revised Jepp-sized brochure with more detailed information on transiting the screening checkpoint.
 
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ACL65PILOT

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Who needs some recommendation when your President is telling DHS what is in bold!

SUBJECT: Advanced Imaging Technology Equipment and Procedures

Background

ALPA’s president, Capt. John Prater, has had numerous high-level discussions with DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano and TSA Administrator John Pistole over the past several days concerning the issue of security screening and has made specific, confidential recommendations on how it should be addressed. The Association’s concerns have been heard and are being examined by the Administration with the goal of finding acceptable solutions.

ALPA has urged the U.S. Government to cease subjecting flight crewmembers to AIT screening protocols immediately.
We are seeking near-term and long-term relief for pilots from traditional checkpoint screening requirements because we believe them to be unnecessary and ineffective as applied to flight crews. ALPA’s highest security priority is an effective means of screening and access to airport sterile areas commensurate with a pilot’s trustworthiness and responsibilities. This document has been prepared to assist you in transiting the screening checkpoint until ALPA is successful in obtaining an effective and appropriate security checkpoint methodology befitting airline pilots.

Due to the recent deployment of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) at many airport checkpoints, ALPA’s National Security Committee (NSC) and the Association’s Aeromedical Committee and Aeromedical Office have collaborated to provide ALPA members with specific information regarding the science, potential health impacts and security protocols associated with AIT.

In March 2010, the TSA began deploying 450 AIT units in airports nationwide, with an announced goal of deploying nearly 1,000 AIT machines by the end of calendar year 2011. AIT is designed to screen for both metallic and non-metallic threats, including weapons and explosives, without direct, physical contact.

Two different AIT technologies are in use at airports across the nation: millimeter wave and backscatter x-ray. TSA describes those systems as follows:

· Millimeter Wave AIT – Millimeter wave AIT uses non-ionizing radio frequency energy in the millimeter wave spectrum to generate a three-dimensional image of the body based on the energy reflected from the body. The image, which resembles a fuzzy photo negative with facial features blurred for privacy, is displayed on a remote monitor for analysis to determine whether potential threats are present.

· Backscatter X-ray AIT – Backscatter AIT uses a narrow, low-energy x-ray beam that scans the surface of the body at a high speed. The machine then generates an image resembling a chalk etching with a privacy filter applied to the entire body. The image is displayed on a remote monitor for analysis to determine whether objects are present.

TSA Views on AIT Health and Safety Issues

The TSA has declared AIT to be safe for all travelers. According to its research, energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is thousands of times less than what a cell phone is allowed to emit. TSA also has stated that the amount of radiation from a backscatter scan is equivalent to two minutes of flight on an airplane. On its website, (TSA: Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT)), TSA states, “Naturally occurring ionizing radiation is all around us. We are continuously exposed to this background radiation. In 17 minutes of ordinary living, a person receives more radiation from naturally occurring sources than from one scan.”

TSA Perspective on AIT Privacy Issues

TSA states that it has implemented numerous measures to protect passenger privacy, including:

· Signage which informs passengers of privacy considerations

· Has made AIT screening optional

· Image officers are remotely located and do not see the individual whose image they view

· Faces on AIT images are obscured by filters

· Images cannot be saved, transmitted, printed or otherwise stored

More about TSA’s views on privacy are provided on its website at TSA: Privacy.

ALPA Views on AIT Health and Safety Issues

ALPA’s Aeromedical Committee earlier this year published a bulletin (i.e., the March/April 2010 Aeromedical Flyer) on the potential health and safety effects of AIT equipment as relates to airline pilots, who face repeated exposures.

Two excerpts from the Aeromedical Flyer, the first on back-scatter x-ray and the second on millimeter wave technology, are provided herewith:

Back-scatter x-ray

To calculate the maximum number of backscatter X-ray scans that a flight crewmember could receive that would result in the maximum annual occupational exposure limit, one would take the difference between the highest estimated exposure from in-flight radiation exposure and the maximum recommended exposure for occupationally exposed individuals. The resulting difference is 10.9 millisieverts per year. In order for a crewmember to receive 10.9 millisieverts of radiation from backscatter X-ray scans, he or she would have to be subjected to 218,000 scans per year, which equates to an average of 699 scans per day (calculated over a 6-day work week, 52 weeks per year). Given the number of scans that would be required to reach this limit, it is a safe assumption that this limit is unachievable even by the most active crewmember. While these limits apply to occupationally exposed individuals, one needs to keep in mind that limits for occupational workers who are pregnant are subject to different recommendations. Current recommendation set forth by the ICRP for pregnant workers is 1 millisievert over the course of a pregnancy. Given these limits, full body scans could pose different challenges for pregnant crewmembers, which is beyond the scope of this article.
 

ACL65PILOT

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Millimeter wave

Millimeter wave technology creates a three-dimensional image of the body, revealing concealed objects beneath clothing. Electromagnetic radiation in the high radio frequency (terahertz) band is transmitted simultaneously by two coils or antennas which rotate around the body during the scan procedure. Although the technology employs electromagnetic radiation, the type of radiation associated with this scan is classified as non-ionizing radiation. The electromagnetic wave that is reflected from the body surface is processed to form a three-dimensional image of the body surface. While the electromagnetic radiation is not considered ionizing, researchers are currently investigating the health effects of terahertz radiation exposure. The American College of Radiology (ACR) released a position statement in January 2010, citing that the technologies associated with both scanning modalities is not considered to present significant biological effects for passengers screened. Results from research conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory suggests that terahertz radiation exposure may affect DNA dynamics, impacting processes associated with gene expression and DNA replication. Current position statements by national organizations suggest that the risk associated with such scans may not significantly increase risk to adverse health effects. Further research may be warranted to investigate the proposed risk suggested in preliminary studies, especially given that debate still exists over the safety of this form of imaging technology.

Dr. Quay Snyder, ALPA’s Aeromedical Advisor, makes the following statements regarding repeated AIT exposures for pilots:

ALPA’s Aeromedical Committee is actively studying TSA’s Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) and its potential effects on pilots who face repeated exposures. The March/April 2010 Aeromedical Flyer offers an excellent synopsis of the current science and relative risks associated with this technology. The equipment used in AIT meets scientific recommendations for radiation exposure for the general public even when considering the multiple exposures pilots face over a career. The backscatter screening technology provides a very small contribution to a pilot’s annual total ionizing radiation dose. Although the science on very low dose radiation exposure has not shown a causal relationship with cancer or other diseases, no amount of ionizing radiation should be considered completely safe in the absence of scientific evidence. Pilots should minimize their exposures to ionizing radiation in both non-occupational and occupational settings.

Millimeter wave AIT does not utilize ionizing radiation as does the backscatter technique, which has been shown to pose a health risk in moderate to high dosages. The millimeter wave technology uses electromagnetic radiation, which is under study and the subject of debates similar to those related to questions whether cell phones potentially cause brain tumors or living near a high power line causes birth defects and other diseases. No evidence exists, but the issue is still under study.

TSA Policy On the Use of AIT and Pat-down Procedures

An individual who presents himself or herself for checkpoint screening will be directed by a Transportation Security Officer (TSO) to pass through either a walk-through metal detector (WTMD) or an AIT portal. TSA policy permits individuals to refuse to be screened by any technology deployed at airport checkpoints, including the AIT, WTMD and baggage x-ray for carry-on luggage, and request a private physical screening. An individual who refuses to be screened by a particular technology does not have the right to choose an alternative, preferred technology.

If an individual refuses to use a particular checkpoint screening technology such as WTMD or AIT, the TSA will use standard pat-down procedures by a same sex-screener as the primary method of search (as opposed to a hand-wand search). Standard pat-downs are conducted with the palm of a screener’s hand, except for more sensitive areas of the body (i.e., groin or breasts), where the back of the hand is used. During any alarm resolution, resolution pat-down searches may include a more aggressive touching of the individual’s body in the suspect area with the palms of the hand, except for the groin and breast areas, which will be conducted with the back of the screener’s hand. Following any pat-down search, the hands of the TSO will be tested for residue by explosive trace detection (ETD) equipment.

An individual can be subjected to checkpoint pat-down search for a number of reasons:

· Opting not to submit to AIT or WTMD

· An unresolved alarm after submitting to either AIT or WTMD

· Random selection

· Designation as a “selectee”

Withdrawal from Screening Process

According to TSA, once an individual presents himself or herself for airport checkpoint screening (i.e., submits to the process of an administrative search), he or she cannot withdraw from the process before its completion without risk of exposure to a TSA investigative process and/or local law enforcement action. The agency cites U.S. v. Aukai, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th circuit, 2007.

Recommendations

The TSA does not currently differentiate between passengers and crewmembers regarding the use of AIT at airport checkpoints. ALPA categorically objects to this policy and is currently engaging government policy makers to bring short-term and long-term relief from this process to all flight crewmembers.

As we pursue that effort, we offer our membership the following guidance:

· TSA permits you to opt out of AIT screening. If you do so, you will be required to submit to a pat-down screening which you may find invasive of your privacy.

· Maintain a professional demeanor at all times, as your actions are on public display and are likely being video-recorded

· If selected for pat-down screening, request a private search. Note: ALPA has made an inquiry of the TSA to determine if they will permit a pilot to have a witness with them during pat-down searches. The answer to that question will be relayed to the membership upon receipt.

· If you encounter suspected unprofessional and/or inappropriate behavior by checkpoint screeners, file reports with the TSA checkpoint supervisor, your chief pilot’s office, and your MEC Security Committee Chairman/Coordinator

· Be aware that your Ground Security Coordinator will not be able to aid you in resolving difficulties at the screening checkpoint

· Be advised that the National Security Committee is updating and will soon publish a revised Jepp-sized brochure with more detailed information on transiting the screening checkpoint.

This document obviously does not address every question that may be raised about security screening, but the National Security Committee will continue to update the membership with answers to questions on this important subject as appropriate. We thank you for your patience and professionalism as we strive to create a better security screening environment for all airline pilots.
 

nwaf16dude

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I'm glad ALPA gives us an option. I don't want to do either, but I'd rather do the AIT than get felt up like a common criminal.
 

ACL65PILOT

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This letter they sent out last night give some really good information on what the real effects are with these machines. It also goes further and states, that the FDA has in fact deemed these safe for the traveling public. That info was not out there before.

ALPA is letting us be big boys and girls and decide what we want to do.
 

densoo

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It also goes further and states, that the FDA has in fact deemed these safe for the traveling public. That info was not out there before.

The frequency which the traveling public goes throught the AIT and the frequency that crewmembers go through the AIT are quite different, and greatly increased frequency of exposure could also lessen safety.

ALPA Security Alert 2010-04 said:
Millimeter Wave. Results from research conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory suggests that terahertz radiation exposure may affect DNA dynamics, impacting processes associated with gene expression and DNA replication. Current position statements by national organizations suggest that the risk associated with such scans may not significantly increase risk to adverse health effects. Further research may be warranted to investigate the proposed risk suggested in preliminary studies, especially given that debate still exists over the safety of this form of imaging technology.

Dr Snyder at ALPA Medical. Although the science on very low dose radiation exposure has not shown a causal relationship with cancer or other diseases, no amount of ionizing radiation should be considered completely safe in the absence of scientific evidence. Pilots should minimize their exposures to ionizing radiation in both non-occupational and occupational settings.

Based on these two statements alone from the bulletin, ALPA would have been justified in following APAs and USAPAs lead of recommending that no crewmember use the AIT until more is known.

Whether or not there is a real risk to health is immaterial really, this is the chance to use this as a wedge issue to get CrewPass now, vice never. No one is going to cough up the money for this unless it costs them more not to do it. Even the ALPA survey on it is essentially saying to the pilots how much do want to pay for this out of your own pocket.
 

Turtle21

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Far be it from ALPA to allow their representation of dues paying pilots to have any adverse impact on big money. The AIT is over $1B in commerce. Just sayin'.
 

PCL_128

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Sometimes a threat is a bigger motivator than an action. A threat from USAPA means nothing to the TSA and DHS, because it's only a few thousands pilots. But a threat from ALPA means something, with the TSA and DHS knowing that 53,000 pilots are represented by a single organization. For all you know, Captain Prater is behind the scenes telling the TSA and DHS that this either gets fixed by (insert date), or he'll give 53,000 pilots the direction to not accept AIT screening. That would get them moving on fixing the problem.

Give it time. Playing the tough guy and beating your chest like USAPA is usually not a solution for anything. Ask the Airbus CAs in the East making $124 an hour.
 

Raskal

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I love that "media coverage" is considered good. The coverage makes all of us sound like a bunch of whining b!tches. As usual. What many fail to understand about this issue is that the public DOES NOT CARE, not even a little bit beyond something to watch on tv and laugh about. The Roberts thing is simply something to fill the air during slow parts of the 24hr news cycle, that's it. Are we really naive enough to believe that the public will support government money to pay for our convenience? Airline money? C'mon.

This will end up being paid for by us or it won't happen, see the recent ALPA survey actually asking how much YOU would be willing to pay as a perfect example of where it's all headed.

Personally, I won't pay a dime, but you can bet in a month or two pilots will be lining up to pay a hundred bucks. Airlines will gleefully issue press releases saying that pilots now have a perfectly good option so there is no issue anymore. The end of another very blustery but meaningless campaign is near.
 

dicko

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Sometimes a threat is a bigger motivator than an action. A threat from USAPA means nothing to the TSA and DHS, because it's only a few thousands pilots. But a threat from ALPA means something, with the TSA and DHS knowing that 53,000 pilots are represented by a single organization. For all you know, Captain Prater is behind the scenes telling the TSA and DHS that this either gets fixed by (insert date), or he'll give 53,000 pilots the direction to not accept AIT screening. That would get them moving on fixing the problem.

Give it time. Playing the tough guy and beating your chest like USAPA is usually not a solution for anything. Ask the Airbus CAs in the East making $124 an hour.



He doesn't have the balls and you certainly don't. Your imaginary scenario is just that .... Imaginary.

Mr Prater is effectively not a Captain at any airline. You can tell by his paycheck. He out earns every ALPA pilot and he doesn't fly. He is as much a Captain as you were a First Officer when you bought your job and paid your employer to work for them.

You do have some things in common; A steak gut paid for by pilots, ambition that disregards the people that feed you and a complete lack of efficacy.

So far your legacy includes a disastrous TA. Care to add another disastrous SLI to ALPA's record ?
 
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