TSA awards $50MILLION contract to apparel company to make officers’ uniforms
DailyMail: U.S. travelers may be facing extended wait times in airports across the country as a result of sequestration, but that did not stop the Transportation Security Administration from paying tens of millions of dollars for officers’ uniforms. On February 27, TSA announced that it plans to award a contract worth up to $50million to apparel giant VF Imagewear Inc. to supply uniforms to officers.
The contract award will be made to the Nashville-based apparel giant specializing in uniforms for a period of one year, with an optional one-year transition period, said TSA, according to Government Security News Magazine.
Less than a week after TSA’s announcement, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that U.S. airports, including Los Angeles International and O’Hare International in Chicago, began experiencing delays of up to three hours in customs waiting lines as a result of automatic federal spending cuts.
But it appears that the remaining TSA agents will be well-dressed. The recently unionized TSA officers are now sporting uniforms with an annual price tag that surpasses a lifetime clothing allowance for a U.S. Marine lieutenant.
Last November, the nation’s 44,000 airport security checkers have ratified their first-ever collective bargaining agreement, giving them more say in the shifts they work, the time off they take, and even the clothes they wear on the job.
According to a press release by the house Transportation Committee, TSA employees have seen their uniform allowances nearly double to $446 per year. By comparison, a combat Marine Corp lieutenant receives a one-time uniform allowance of $400, Washington Examiner reported. No allowance for clothing maintenance or replacement is provided.
Enlisted men in the U.S. military receive annual uniform allowance that varies by branch, from Marines who get $410 a year to buy clothing to about $340 for men and women serving in the Coast Guard.
As a result of the agreement approved by the TSA union, U.S. taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the estimated $9.63million increase in the officers’ annual clothing budget.
Congressman John Mica, a Republican from Florida, lambasted the federal agency, accusing the TSA of failing to make its bureaucracy more efficient or address security failures. ‘While we must respect employee rights to be represented by organized labor, TSA has failed to represent the flying public and has missed the mark on improving procedures and protocols while focusing on tie tacks and tattoos,’ Mica said in a statement in November.
TSA’s three-year collective bargaining agreement was passed 17,326 to 1,774 and went into effect December 9, according to NJ.com.
VF Imagewear is a subsidiary of VF Corporation. According to OpenSecrets.org, employees of VF Corporation and its subsidiaries donated $24,708 to Obama’s campaign.
It’s a shame the TSA gropers are getting more uniform allowance than our soldiers who put their lives on the line for us.