Union pushes public outreach on TSA pat downs

Wednesday - 11/24/2010, 10:41am EST

Colleen Kelley, president, NTEU

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By Vyomika Jairam
Federal News Radio

If you're not traveling right now, you're probably getting ready to, or you know someone who is. Travelers are likely to encounter new security rules and enhanced screenings at many of the nation's airports.

The Transportation Security Administration has come under intense criticism for the enhanced pat downs, which many find intrusive and inappropriate.

Colleen Kelley is president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which is launching a campaign to educate the public about the new security measures.

After hearing from transportation security officers across the country, Kelley said NTEU realized more needed to be done on their behalf. The campaign is an effort to remedy that.

NTEU's aim is to "ask the public to recognize these officers, and respect them for the job they are trying to do, and for the professionalism they are trying to exercise in implementing what we understand can be challenging directives," Kelley said.

The campaign will feature ads and letters to editors in national newspapers, emails to more than 600,000 frequent fliers, and social media outreach.

Kelley said the public must understand that while their comfort is important, so is the flying public's safety, and that TSOs are tasked with ensuring that.

"The officers recognize that is is a change for the public, that it is of concern, but that it is their job to implement these policies and protocols to do everything they can possibly do, while they are on duty, to keep the flying public safe," Kelley said.

AFGE president John Gage also spoke with the Federal Drive about the TSA safety procedures. You can hear his full interview here.