North America's Strongest Union

Teamsters Support Tighter Security at Foreign Repair Stations

(WASHINGTON) – The Teamsters Union said Wednesday that there should be a single security standard for aircraft repair stations in the U.S. and overseas.

The House Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection heard testimony today from the Teamsters about security at overseas repair stations.

The Transportation Security Administration proposed a new security rule this week. The rule leaves out 21 foreign non-certificated stations that do work critical to the airworthiness of the aircraft, according to the Department of Transportation inspector general.

“It’s long past time to tighten security at overseas repair stations seven years after an aircraft repair technician who belonged to al-Qaida was arrested in Singapore,” said Teamsters Airline Division Director David Bourne. “Though we applaud the Transportation Security Administration for proposing a new security rule, we think that it should include all foreign air stations.”  

Bourne further said that all security standards need to be equivalent to those in the U.S., including background checks.

Chris Moore, a Teamster airline mechanic, testified that he had witnessed lax security at the Aeroman facility at El SalvadorInternationalAirport, which now handles four lines of heavy maintenance for Southwest Airlines. Moore, who has worked for Continental Airlines at GeorgeBushIntercontinentalAirport in Houston since 1986, visited Aeroman in June.

Moore told the subcommittee that Aeroman had no electronic card reader to verify that escort badges are valid. In Houston, a card that fails to be verified by electronic card readers will immediately draw a law enforcement officer.

TSA conducts surprise inspections of mechanics in the United States, though Moore saw no such inspections in El Salvador. Further, he saw no patrols of the perimeter, though many other businesses were patrolled by armed guards.

“Is there real control over who is actually working on our aircraft in a developing economy?” Moore said. “When the aircraft is stripped bare and there are literally thousands of places where explosives or other contraband can be hidden, are we willing to take that chance?”

The Teamsters Union Airline Division represents more than 43,000 airline employees, including 18,500 mechanics across 10 airlines, as well as pilots, flight attendants, customer service agents, reservationists, simulator technicians, ramp agents, stock clerks and dispatchers.  

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.  

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