The nomination for former FBI agent and TSA nominee Erroll Southers has been held up by some U.S. senators, including Senator Jim DeMint. Some Republicans are claiming Southers improperly accessed a confidential federal database a few years ago, so they now want an explanation.
Also, DeMint stands by his questioning of Southers on the issue of allowing collective labor bargaining for some airport workers.
“A third party union boss should not be sitting at the table when we’re directing the security of our airports. So, let them join the union if they want, but they should not be allowed collective bargaining. It’s been prohibited since we formed TSA for the very reason that you lose the flexibility that you need and a lot of the secrecy that you need,” says DeMint.
Collective bargaining is when workers meet, usually in unions, to negotiate and discuss their work conditions with their employers. This normally results in a written contract. DeMint says it’s not unionization that he doesn’t agree with, it’s collective bargaining.
“I don’t mind them unionizing. Actually over 10,000 TSA workers are unionized now, but when they’re forced to collective bargaining with union bosses, that means union bosses can help direct who they hire, how they train, whether or not they can move people around or change the protocol, like they’ve had to do the last few days just to catch up with the threats,” says DeMint.
DeMint says explains one problem with collective bargaining: “We’ve seen it with the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs agency. They’re the only security related agency that’s under collective bargaining, and it takes them months, if not years to make changes. We also have 12 million illegals in our country, so it’s not a good example,” says DeMint.
As for Southers, DeMint says he seems like a good guy, but it’s his intentions that may not be as good.
“He wouldn’t give me a straight answer about his intent to submit the whole agency to collective bargaining when we know that’s why he was brought in. It’s not that I’m holding him, I just am asking for a debate and a recorded vote instead of the secret unanimous consent where people never have to vote on someone,” says DeMint.
DeMint says he’s glad he has put a hold on Southers because of the new details.
“Since I’ve put a hold on him, we found out that 20 years ago he broke the law and used his access as an FBI agent for private access for personal reasons. And, then he didn’t tell the committees exactly what he did. In fact, he actually blamed it on someone else, and then later changed and said he actually did it himself,” says DeMint.
DeMint says Southers not giving him a straight answer is just the “tip of the iceberg.”