We are in a war with an enemy unlike any we’ve ever had before, and the primary tool in protecting us in this war is intelligence. When the intelligence turns up a key piece of information, the Transportation Security Administration must be very flexible and very responsive. If we had a series of organized unions- one different in each of the 450 airports that operate in the United States- as proposed in S.4, we would not have the flexibility or the capacity to respond to serious security threats as we do now.

Let me give you a few examples, the most dramatic occurred when the British intelligence operations discovered a plot to blow airplanes up over the Atlantic by taking innocent-looking liquids onboard and combining them to create an explosive bomb. Had the terrorists succeeded, worldwide travel would have been disrupted everywhere and economies, of not only the U.S. but many others, would have been seriously devastated.

Fortunately, the British intelligence agencies discovered it, interrupted it, and prevented it. In the process, they notified the American intelligence agencies and TSA leadership, who immediately swung into action. By 4 a.m., TSA officers at East Coast airports were informed of the new procedures and soon the entire TSA system was brought up to speed. There were no cancellations, no delays because TSA was nimble and could act quickly. If collective bargaining had been in place, there would have been a requirement of union approval to change routines to make sure it fit in with the collective bargaining requirements, making preventative action too late.

Another example occurred in Canada last Thanksgiving. As part of a union labor dispute, some 250,000 passengers were rushed through with minimal or no screening whatsoever. One Canadian security expert said, “If the terrorists had known that in those three days their baggage wasn’t going to be searched, that would have been bad.