National Security Be Damned

The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports on organized labor’s new effort to slip in unionization for airport screeners:

Democrats figure they owe Big Labor for helping them take Congress, and now comes the payback. Tucked away in House and Senate bills that purport to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission is a provision that the Commission most assuredly did not recommend: collective (sic) bargaining rights for the Transportation Safety Administration’s 43,000 airport screeners.

Congress created TSA in 2001 without union rights on common sense grounds that the agency overseeing airport security was more like the Defense Department than, say, Agriculture. Unionization, with its myriad work rules, would make it harder for the executive branch to hire, fire, train and reassign workers to best meet changing terrorist threats.

Democrats haven’t stopped trying to overturn that decision, and in 2002 they forced a showdown with President Bush over union rights as part of creating the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Bush opposed the effort by Senate Democrats who were then in the majority, and the dispute helped the GOP gain Senate seats that November. This may explain why Democrats are now trying to unionize TSA sotto voce, under the cover of 9/11 Commission “reforms,” and so far the press corps has barely noticed.