The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority is holding off on a proposal to replace TSA agents with private security screeners.
The board came to the decision after about an hour of public comment during a packed meeting Wednesday, but says there are big problems with local TSA leadership that need to be resolved.
The GOAA Board is setting 60 days to meet with TSA leadership in D.C, regarding those issues. The board says if the issues are not resolved, it will move forward with filing an application to use contract screeners.
This is a developing story. Check back for the latest.
- TSA agents, federal workers protested before vote
- TSA agent worries coworkers will lose their jobs
In reaction to the upcoming vote, TSA agents and other federal workers held a protest on Tuesday to make it clear they do not want the GOAA to vote yes to privatizing security.
The @AFGENational is protesting the possibility of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and their vote tomorrow to choose if the want a private company to run airport security. This union group strongly opposes that action. @MyNews13 pic.twitter.com/nBgzYntdg4— Erin Murray News 13 (@emurray1) February 20, 2018
Deborah Hanna has worked as a TSA agent at OIA for 11 years.
"I like to meet new people. And I like to help people, that is the kind of person, I am a caretaker type," said Hanna.
Hanna is worried for her coworkers who could lose their jobs if the switch happens. However, even more than that, Hannah is worried about something else.
"If it were to happen, where is the safety for the traveling public? An $8 an hour officer, are you going to grab a bag and run? Because we are. We have done it," said Hanna.
The American Federation of Government Employees, a union many TSA agents are a part of, said there was a time all airports used private security.
"I would remind folks that 9/11, four aircrafts were high jacked, three of them made their targets, and it was all because we had a privatized screening workforce, at every airport in this country. The American people said, 'We want TSA,'" said J. David Cox, AFGE president.
GOAA did not want to comment Tuesday, but paperwork it released described its reasons behind wanting the switch. Two of those reasons involves wait times at security checkpoints that sometimes last more than 15 minutes and that overall passenger satisfaction is dropping.
At its monthly meeting Wednesday, GOAA will discuss and vote on this decision.
"I will be there at the vote to express our reasoning as to why we should not go private. I will be there the whole time, and I hope that they will listen to us and push this back," said Hanna.
Some local leaders are also opposed to the switch. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said he feels the switch would be disruptive and counterproductive.