Rob Perez, Gregg K. Kakesako and Gordon Y.K. Pang
Honolulu Star Advertiser
Thirty-six Transportation Security Administration workers at Honolulu Airport, including the top director, were given termination notices Friday, and 12 others were suspended in the largest mass disciplinary action in the federal agency’s history.
The workers were removed from their jobs because they allegedly were not screening checked-in baggage for explosives, a requirement of their positions.
But the screening gaps that were uncovered during a six-month TSA investigation affected only one shift responsible for a single airport lobby and did not lead to any security incidents, agency spokesman Nico Melendez said.
“The fact is they weren’t doing their job, they weren’t following procedures and they were screening bags improperly, and that’s a serious violation when you have the public trust as a cornerstone of their agency,” Melendez said. “They violated that and they are being held accountable.”
Representatives for two unions vying to become the exclusive bargaining agent for TSA front-line workers nationally faulted management for the problems, saying workers were pressured to increase the pace of screenings because of airline complaints about backlogs.
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