Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Formalde-hype

The latest item to rise to top of my “Hot Topics” list is the concern of formaldehyde in the new TSA uniforms and the effect it is having on our officers. I have to admit, the first thing that came to mind was the “Til’ Death Do We Part” CSI episode where a funeral home employee was selling “used” clothing to second hand stores and people were dying from extreme formaldehyde exposure. Our case isn’t quite that severe, in fact, it’s not even close. But, when it comes to our officer’s safety, we take things very seriously and immediately looked into the issue back in September when we first became aware of some officers experiencing irritation from the new uniform. We also made 100% cotton uniforms available for any of our officers who needed them.
We went straight to the Vice President of Safety of VF Solutions, (The company that makes the uniforms) and he gave us some very helpful information:

VF Image Wear had an independent lab test 4 shirts - three shirts from officers that had significant skin irritations, and one from VF's inventory.

The testing tested for numerous irritants or allergens in or on the fabric, including formaldehyde. The testing showed that formaldehyde or any other irritant is NOT present in sufficient quantities to be the source of the skin irritation in a normal person, in fact the amount of formaldehyde in the tested shirts was “untraceable.” The industry standard testing would need to show in excess of 75 parts per million of formaldehyde to potentially be an issue. In fact, the testing is only sensitive to 20 parts per million, and again, formaldehyde did not register because it was below this level.

(Please note that TSA is working now conducting our own government assessment to verify the independent lab’s results using the same uniforms.)

Here are some additional factoids we learned from VF Solutions:

- The fabric used for TSA shirts has been purchased by VF Solutions from the same vendor without any changes for 10 years. In all colors, VF has purchased 105 million yards of fabric during that time, and produced 70 million shirts. In the royal blue used by TSA, VF has purchased 1.5 million yards and produced over 1 million shirts. VF Solutions has never had an issue raised or had any prior experience with skin irritations or rashes from this fabric.

- Fabric mills routinely use a resin compound which contains formaldehyde during the fabric weaving process. This compound adds the "permanent press" feature to fabrics containing cotton and rayon. This is a very common feature on the majority of cotton and rayon garments on the market today. Formaldehyde has been a component of this process since the 1960's. The government has regulations on the amount of formaldehyde that may be used.

- From internal interviews, VF has found no evidence of formaldehyde exposure from any of their own employees that cut the fabric, sew the garments or handle the garments in their distribution center.

- The fabric is manufactured solely in the U.S. at textile mills in North Carolina. The completed fabric is then sent to Mexico and Honduras to be sewn into uniforms and other clothing.

I also did some research to see how our uniform shirts compared to the formaldehyde levels of famous name brand manufacturers. I found the following in an article written by Dr. Sharyn Martin.

There is a variation in different country’s standards for formaldehyde release from textile finishes. Japan has the highest standards at 75 ppm for formaldehyde-releasing resin, compared with 300 ppm in the U.S. Some U.S. manufacturers are now using newer low formaldehyde or ‘no-formaldehyde’ finishes.

We take complaints of discomfort seriously of course, but to put this in perspective only 20 of our 45,000 have complained so far. So, as you can see from the facts, there’s no need to replace all of the uniforms as has been suggested elsewhere. It would be a shame to replace the uniform. Feedback from the workforce as well as passengers has been positive. There’s a great pride in the workforce about the new uniform.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

94 comments:

RB said...

Of course it's not the cloth.

It's the lead and mercury in the play "cop" badges.

Anonymous said...

And so the badge remarks. . . . .I mean comments begin.

Anonymous said...

Curious, can we get a post about what "officially/ un-officially" happened at DCA. I mean come on, I'd rather hear about my own airport than something about the uniforms I wear.

TSO # 3 said...

[quote] Anon said:

Curious, can we get a post about what "officially/ un-officially" happened at DCA. I mean come on, I'd rather hear about my own airport than something about the uniforms I wear.

[/quote]

+1

I agree w/ you there, as interesting [I guess] as it is to hear about our uniforms, I'd much rather hear more about the story between the foreigners at DCA Terminal A, & the pier dump that happened with it. I'd also like to know why they would even sue DoT, AirTran I understand but why DoT. Good thing the TSA didn't really have anything to do with that. Except the re-screening of many passengers.

Trollkiller said...

I do find the uniform mess funny and the fact it proves that whole karma thing to be true is just bonus.

But seriously Blogger Bob, with ALL the other Hot Topics we get a post on TSOs getting monkey butt from the faux police uniforms?

How about a post on the new laws and how the forced ID verification is STILL illegal under the new law?

How about one on the TSA making $10k+ contraband to be reported to a LEO? (BTW thanks for giving us the directive number)

How about one talking about the money the TSA is being required to pay out for violating someone's civil rights?

What about some older Hot Topics that have not been satisfactorily addressed, like why luggage is not secured after the TSA screening?

Trollkiller said...

I see I made an error in my previous post. It appears that the TSA did NOT have to pay the settlement as the TSA was not a party to the suit.

I now see that the two TSA agents involved had to pay. This is good news because it put responsibility squarely on those that violate civil rights.

Is there malpractice insurance available to TSOs?

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob;
You say you first learned of this "irritation" in September, but you didn't name the source of the information which in fact was the American Federation of Government employees, the Federal employees union which has been representing TSO's since the inception of TSA, despite the fact that we are not allowed to bargain collectively. You go on to say that VF solutions determined that the quantities of Formaldyhyde in the uniforms was insufficient to be the source of the irritation. VF solutions can't even get our sizes right, how can they determine the source of the irritation Bob? Howver, you failed to mantion that the uniforms in question were imported from the Honduras...the ones that were imported from Mexico are not affecting officers, only the ones from the Honduras. AFGE has asked TSA to allow affected officers to wear their white shirt uniforms until this problem is fixed...what is TSA's response to that Bob? As long as we're talking about a safety issue, we might as well get all the cards on the table don't you think? And isn't this just another way for TSA to rebuke potential Workers Comp cases? Not only are we severely understaffed, we are now being put at risk by the uniforms we are REQUIRED to wear! But of course, VF says it isn't the uniforms, gee, I wonder why they would say that? Come on Bob, its all a bunch of bull and every affected TSO knows it.

Anonymous said...

slow news week?

Earl Pitts said...

@Anonymous: "Hey Bob;
You say you first learned of this "irritation" in September, but you didn't name the source of the information which in fact was the American Federation of Government employees, the Federal employees union which has been representing TSO's since the inception of TSA, despite the fact that we are not allowed to bargain collectively. You go on to say that VF solutions determined that the quantities of Formaldyhyde in the uniforms was insufficient to be the source of the irritation. VF solutions can't even get our sizes right, how can they determine the source of the irritation Bob? Howver, you failed to mantion that the uniforms in question were imported from the Honduras...the ones that were imported from Mexico are not affecting officers, only the ones from the Honduras. AFGE has asked TSA to allow affected officers to wear their white shirt uniforms until this problem is fixed...what is TSA's response to that Bob? As long as we're talking about a safety issue, we might as well get all the cards on the table don't you think? And isn't this just another way for TSA to rebuke potential Workers Comp cases? Not only are we severely understaffed, we are now being put at risk by the uniforms we are REQUIRED to wear! But of course, VF says it isn't the uniforms, gee, I wonder why they would say that? Come on Bob, its all a bunch of bull and every affected TSO knows it."

My guess is that TSA and the vendor thought the level of formaldahyde was acceptable as each uniform contained less than 3 (or is it 3.4?) ounces of formaldahyde. That clearly isn't the cause. :D

Earl

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...
Hey Bob;
You say you first learned of this "irritation" in September, but you didn't name the source of the information which in fact was the American Federation of Government employees, the Federal employees union which has been representing TSO's since the inception of TSA, despite the fact that we are not allowed to bargain collectively. You go on to say that VF solutions determined that the quantities of Formaldyhyde in the uniforms was insufficient to be the source of the irritation. VF solutions can't even get our sizes right, how can they determine the source of the irritation Bob? Howver, you failed to mantion that the uniforms in question were imported from the Honduras...the ones that were imported from Mexico are not affecting officers, only the ones from the Honduras. AFGE has asked TSA to allow affected officers to wear their white shirt uniforms until this problem is fixed...what is TSA's response to that Bob? As long as we're talking about a safety issue, we might as well get all the cards on the table don't you think? And isn't this just another way for TSA to rebuke potential Workers Comp cases? Not only are we severely understaffed, we are now being put at risk by the uniforms we are REQUIRED to wear! But of course, VF says it isn't the uniforms, gee, I wonder why they would say that? Come on Bob, its all a bunch of bull and every affected TSO knows it.


I can tell by your tone you got the Honduras uniform. You know what they say "Life's an itch".

Sorry could not pass up on the pun.

BTW you are not understaffed, you are spread too thin by mission creep. If the TSA stuck to its statutorily legal limits of searching for weapons, explosives and incendiaries instead of breaking the law by using forced ID verification as a criterion for granting access to the sterile area, you would have enough people.

Seriously, other than the amusement factor this kind of issue should be handled behind the scenes.

There are too many important issues to deal with that effect passengers and the public at large to waste space discussing itchy faux police uniforms.

ggirl said...

I would seriously like to get information about these shirts. I have no problem with the short-sleeve ones, but when I wear the long-sleeves, I get a rash on my neck and arms. Haven't been able to get an answer. If anybody knows please give me real talk about this.

RB said...

Bob, since you have little to do other than discuss TSA uniforms which do not impact travelers in any way why don't we readdress a more serious issue which has impact on TSO's and travelers alike.

What has been done to secure checked baggage from being pilfered while in custody of TSA, airlines or airport authorities?

As we all know, if something can be removed then something can just as easily be placed in checked baggage.

It is a known and proven fact that items have removed from checked baggage so a severe unanswered security breach has occurred.

What is TSA doing to stop this treat?

Chris Boyce said...

Bob,

I'm surprised that your legal and contracting staffs would allow you, as an official of the TSA, to publish official views about this situation. If there is a quality issue, you (or whoever wrote this blog entry) and all of the self-identified TSA screeners who comment on the uniforms can severely restrict the government's ability to take punitive action toward the contractor.

As a taxpayer, I want to know if this post was cleared by Francine and whoever was the contracting officer.

BTW, I don't recall hearing about any problems with either of the two other uniforms.

NoClu said...

I don't know how even TSA apologists/fans can get behind the lame subject of this entry.

How about a column on "looking forward, what the new administration may bring to the TSA"

or

What we learned from the 2008 holiday travel season. Run into any glitches, concerns?

Since relaxing the no pies rule seems to have worked, are you considering easing restrictions on peanut butter and jelly?

Dunstan said...

Perhaps someone should investigate the differences in the handling processes in the manufacturing of the irritating garments in Mexico and Honduras. The irritant could be anywhere in the storage or packaging process.

Rusty said...

With all due respect to the blog team and itchy TSO's everywhere, I feel this post is inappropriate.

As others have said, there are many, many relevant issues that need discussing and proper answers, and this internal matter certainly is of no interest to me nor, I imagine, most of your other readers.

Not quite a puppy-dog post, but it certainly isn't raising the bar

Anonymous said...

"Only 20 complaints..."

Bull Hockey!! At my airport alone (70 TSOs total) we have had at least that many rash complaints. Maybe only 20 "officially" made it up the line!

VF (non)Solutions is keeping TSOs money (allocations have to be used by a certain cut off date but the website "mysteriously" goes down for three days prior to the cut off), Shipping poor quality merchandise (why don't you talk about the puckering pants, pilling sweaters or seam splitting along the "bell hop" stripe), etc. etc.

Not only that but after you wash your uniform (not everyone can afford dry cleaning)and they fall apart, VF disallows returns due to the uniforms being worn!!

Of course they determined the Formaldyhyde levels were safe, not only did they do the testing but maybe the rashes aren't being caused by Formaldyhyde! Did anyone think to check for anything else that might be causing this condition? D'oh!

TSA TSM

Anonymous said...

What, no one could come up with a snarky argument to the post about the Amber Alert? Hmm, guess we may have a valid point after all. Could it be that the TSA actually has a point in questioning children....? Wow, silence.....

RB said...

Not only are we severely understaffed, we are now being put at risk by the uniforms we are REQUIRED to wear!
.........................
Our perceptions of this issue are certainly divergent.

If your so severely understaffed as you say how come Kelly Mae has time to Blog on the TSA's (and Tax Payers) dime while at work?

Sounds more like a poor staffing management issue to me, not lack of manpower.

Also, those useless TDC people you have, they in no way contribute to aviation safety. Put them to work doing something useful.

Every time I transit a TSA checkpoint I see clusters of TSO's seemingly standing around doing nothing but chatting with each other.

Anonymous said...

This is clearly an irritating problem for at least some TSOs. But is there any reason We The Traveling Public (who stand in our stocking feet on filthy floors waiting for our chance to learn what secret TSA rules will be inflicted on us this time) should have any interest this particular behind-the-scenes tidbit? Is it a ploy to earn some sympathy, or to show us that TSOs are human after all? I just don't know.

With so much of the TSA's operations shrouded in secrecy (for "national security reasons"), I suppose we should be grateful for any fleeting glimpse behind the Black Curtain that you deign to show us. But with so many questions about things that directly affect passengers repeatedly asked and repeatedly ignored, it's rather difficult to care about the dermatological distress of TSOs. That said, if it's affecting the conscientious professional TSOs who treat passengers with respect, I'm genuinely sorry for them. But if it affects the arrogant bullies who bark orders, make up arbitrary restrictions, and otherwise do their best to make passengers miserable, I'd have to say they deserve whatever they get.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with security or the TSA's mission. Unless the irritation is so distracting that it causes TSOs to miss water bottles, lip gloss, cash, or drugs.

Anonymous said...

Like I said yesterday and it didn't get posted..... This is no ones business. There is no reason for this to be posted to the public.

Anonymous said...

Quote:
"Is there malpractice insurance available to TSOs?"

Actually there is professional malpractice insurance available to the work force. When I went to Supervisor training, it was suggested we purchase it.

TSO Rachel said...

Only 20 people have complained?How about checking out our internal site "IdeaFactory". Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have compained about tehse uniforms. In my airport alone, two people ahd to actually file a WC claim because the rash their shirts caused was so severe, they needed to leave work and go to a doctor.

One thing we noticed locally- most of our shirt tags say our shirts were made in Mexico. The shirts that people have been getting rashes from say Honduras on the label. Coincidence...? Maybe not.

These uniforms are also falling apart VERY quickly. They do fit nicer and look nicer than the whites we had, but they were cheaply made. They are falling apart already.

Anonymous said...

If the uniforms only have "a few" reported cases, why did this memo come out to our airport:

"Uniform Quality Issues

Some TSOs have raised a variety of questions regarding the quality of the new uniforms. The majority of questions pertain to the following issues:

• Issue #1 regards split seams on garments; pants in particular.
o If your seams have split, send them back to VF Solutions.
o The following instructions are for garments with split seams, and also for any other garment with a manufacturing defect:
 If the garment has been worn and laundered, you should first call the VF Solutions’ customer service office at 1-800-334-9087 to obtain a return authorization number.
 If the garment is new or unworn, it may be returned without the return authorization number.

Issue #2 regards fading uniforms.
• New uniform shirts and trousers are 65 percent polyester and 35 percent cotton.
• The dye in cotton will fade over time and is not necessarily a defect.

VF Solutions recently sent a team to Miami International Airport (MIA) to review some of the defects first hand. TSA Headquarters will advise when VF Solutions has completed their review and provided their evaluation results."


Seems odd to send out this memo for only a few cases. Likewise to send a "team" to "to Miami International Airport (MIA) to review some of the defects first hand. "

Also, try taking a look at the IdeaFactory Bob (you must have access to it)- There are SEVERAL HUNDRED posts on there about uniform defects.

maybe if you did the research BEFORE the post, you guys wouldn't look so uninformed.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
And so the badge remarks. . . . .I mean comments begin.

January 6, 2009 5:16 PM
.................................
Yes.

The decision to have metal badges for people who should be screened each and every time they enter a secure area is idiotic.

Not screening everyone entering a secure area is a significant security lapse that TSA cannot justify in any convincing way.

TSO Rachel said...

"If your so severely understaffed as you say how come Kelly Mae has time to Blog on the TSA's (and Tax Payers) dime while at work?"

Full time TSOs get two 15 minute breaks during their 8 hour shift. We also take a 30 minute unpaid break for our lunch. During this time, we go to our breakrooms, where we are encouraged to get online to check our government email, as well as read up on any new TSA information. That includes this blog. Kelly Mae is doing a good thing- not every TSO cares.

RB said...

TSO Rachel said...
"If your so severely understaffed as you say how come Kelly Mae has time to Blog on the TSA's (and Tax Payers) dime while at work?"

Full time TSOs get two 15 minute breaks during their 8 hour shift. We also take a 30 minute unpaid break for our lunch. During this time, we go to our breakrooms, where we are encouraged to get online to check our government email, as well as read up on any new TSA information. That includes this blog. Kelly Mae is doing a good thing- not every TSO cares.

January 7, 2009 2:14 PM

I can understand personal time however KellyMae said she didn't have any bags to screen. In other words nothing to do.

Either to many people or not enough flights.

Surely there are other things needing done!

Sandra said...

TSO Rachel,KellyMae wrote:

"For your information, not that it really is any of your business, we have computers in each bag room to use for training, checking our work emails and any other TSA related issues when there is no bag to be checked."

IOW, the computer she uses to access the blog for personal reasons is one that is in a bag room, not a break room. You will notice she said the computer is also to be used for work e-mails and other TSA related issues. Contributing to this blog is NOT a requirement of her job and therefore she should not be using a work computer to do so.

Now, if there is a computer in her break room that can be used on her personal time, that's a different story.

Chris Boyce said...

Anonymous said...
What, no one could come up with a snarky argument to the post about the Amber Alert? Hmm, guess we may have a valid point after all. Could it be that the TSA actually has a point in questioning children....? Wow, silence.....

January 7, 2009 11:19 AM


No, it's not about questioning children. It's about doing good police work. Long before you were a gleam in the eye, transportation hubs of all types were alerted about arrest warrants, escaping criminals, etc. There was probable cause or an actual arrest warrant. Nobody would have an issue with using the TSA to help assist in a legitimate LE event.

Using the TSA as part of a warrantless dragnet, including interrogating children at a checkpoint, is way out of bounds, and we will not be silent until it's stopped.

Bob said...

Why is this story on the blog? Internal issue you say? Well maybe it was an internal issue at one point in time before a certain press release was sent out…
These are just a few of the media outlets who were reporting this prior to my blog post. (And this doesn’t count all of the smaller blogs that linked to it)

Washington Post
CBS 2 Chicago
Chicago Sun Times
UPI
Formaldehyde Facts

If you read this blog, we blog about a little bit of everything. I mean… come on…I blogged about an exploding chicken once. ..

Anonymous said...

Interesting that, once again, the zero tolerance applied to passengers isn't applied to TSA itself. You're tolerating potential illness among your workers which will further deteriorate morale and therefore have a negative impact on the traveling public.

I find it interesting that your "team spirit" doesn't apply to those who suffer for their work.

Earl Pitts said...

@Anonymous: "Actually there is professional malpractice insurance available to the work force. When I went to Supervisor training, it was suggested we purchase it."

Good idea. Apparently 2 of the TSO's involved with the "We will not be silent" incident are having to pay out of pocket.

It's pretty much encouraged in any federal position ... I remember umbrella insurance being sold to protect us from liability if we were ever sued for acting in an official capacity and the government decided not to protect us.

Earl

Anonymous said...

I love it when people believe the filth from unions. If you have ever dealt with unions before you would be well aware of the lies and filth they spew. Who holds them accountable for their lies? I am not saying the TSA is perfect but It still amazes me when people take stock in what unions say.

Ayn R. Key said...

Blogger bob wrote:
If you read this blog, we blog about a little bit of everything. I mean… come on…I blogged about an exploding chicken once. ..

You do blog about almost everything, but you never blog about the answers to the questions we repeat in the vain hope that our concerns would be addressed.

Such as the leveling of fines by TSOs (in probable violation of the Administrative Procedures Act) and the doubling of fines for those who dare challenge them (in definite violation of the Administrative Procedures Act).

And you never blog about the comprehensive list of federal rules that travelers are supposed to follow.

And you never blog about the answer to Trollkiller's question about IDs.

And you never blog about increasing the security of luggage, which is important since it is the TSA that actually made luggage less secure.

And you never blog about how some of the concealed items, such as a glass pipe, are threats to air travel. And you never comment the relationship between my story about my days in the Air Force and how that pipe is obviously drug paraphenalia and therefore must be reported - even though the only way to know it was used for drugs is a chemical analysis.

And you never blogged about the legal and constitutional basis of the MMW scans for those not attempting to access the sterile / secure areas. Your discontinuance of that procedure tells us a lot about why you never answered my question there.

You clearly don't blog about "a little bit of everything" since there are so many issues crying out for attention.

Anonymous said...

Sandra wrote:

"TSO Rachel,KellyMae wrote:

"For your information, not that it really is any of your business, we have computers in each bag room to use for training, checking our work emails and any other TSA related issues when there is no bag to be checked."

IOW, the computer she uses to access the blog for personal reasons is one that is in a bag room, not a break room. You will notice she said the computer is also to be used for work e-mails and other TSA related issues. Contributing to this blog is NOT a requirement of her job and therefore she should not be using a work computer to do so."

---

I agree. It's really not too smart to admit on the internet that you are using a computer meant for work purposes for personal matters.

Dunstan said...

"I love it when people believe the filth from unions. If you have ever dealt with unions before you would be well aware of the lies and filth they spew. Who holds them accountable for their lies? I am not saying the TSA is perfect but It still amazes me when people take stock in what unions say."

We could replace "union" with "anonymous poster," Republican, Democrat, idiot, liberal or conservative and any racial or religious group and end up with the same meaningless rant. So, what is your real beef?

RB said...

Bob, totally serious question.

Many comments have been made regarding the lack of answers or discussion to questions. You or any of the others on the blog team rarely directly answer questions.

Are you guys prohibited from engaging the readers of this blog?

Thanks.

Bob said...

RB said... Of course it's not the cloth. It's the lead and mercury in the play "cop" badges. January 6, 2009 5:06 PM

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Would you feel a bit better if we made you a deputy TSO?

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Anonymous said... Curious, can we get a post about what "officially/ un-officially" happened at DCA. I mean come on, I'd rather hear about my own airport than something about the uniforms I wear. January 6, 2009 5:21 PM

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I can tell you without a doubt that nobody saw Elvis. :)

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TSO # 3 said... I agree w/ you there, as interesting [I guess] as it is to hear about our uniforms, I'd much rather hear more about the story between the foreigners at DCA Terminal A, & the pier dump that happened with it. I'd also like to know why they would even sue DoT, AirTran I understand but why DoT. Good thing the TSA didn't really have anything to do with that. Except the re-screening of many passengers. January 6, 2009 5:28 PM

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Your last sentence answers the question. The TSA had nothing to do with this. Why should we write about it?

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Anonymous said... AFGE has asked TSA to allow affected officers to wear their white shirt uniforms until this problem is fixed...what is TSA's response to that Bob? January 6, 2009 9:21 PM
Anon TSO – The TSA has provided cotton uniforms to those with issues regarding the uniform. VF Solutions used a 3rd party lab to test the shirts. They didn’t test them. The TSA is working with the Department of Labor to have the same shirts tested in a different lab by a 3rd party.

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Earl Pitts said... My guess is that TSA and the vendor thought the level of formaldahyde was acceptable as each uniform contained less than 3 (or is it 3.4?) ounces of formaldahyde. That clearly isn't the cause. :D Earl January 6, 2009 11:12 PM

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As Fozzie the Bear Says – “Waka, Waka, Waka”

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ggirl said... I would seriously like to get information about these shirts. I have no problem with the short-sleeve ones, but when I wear the long-sleeves, I get a rash on my neck and arms. Haven't been able to get an answer. If anybody knows please give me real talk about this. January 7, 2009 7:06 AM

---------------------------------

Ggirl, I gave you the real talk. If you’re having issues with your uniform, use your chain of command and request the cotton shirt.

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Chris Boyce said... Bob, I'm surprised that your legal and contracting staffs would allow you, as an official of the TSA, to publish official views about this situation. If there is a quality issue, you (or whoever wrote this blog entry) and all of the self-identified TSA screeners who comment on the uniforms can severely restrict the government's ability to take punitive action toward the contractor. As a taxpayer, I want to know if this post was cleared by Francine and whoever was the contracting officer. BTW, I don't recall hearing about any problems with either of the two other uniforms. January 7, 2009 9:56 AM

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You pay taxes? Hmmm. Me too… Imagine that? I have specific vetting procedures that I follow. That’s all you really need to know.

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Dunstan said... Perhaps someone should investigate the differences in the handling processes in the manufacturing of the irritating garments in Mexico and Honduras. The irritant could be anywhere in the storage or packaging process. January 7, 2009 10:38 AM

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Good point. I have made a couple of calls to see if the statement is true that only uniforms from Honduras are causing the irritation.

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Rusty said... With all due respect to the blog team and itchy TSO's everywhere, I feel this post is inappropriate. As others have said, there are many, many relevant issues that need discussing and proper answers, and this internal matter certainly is of no interest to me nor, I imagine, most of your other readers. Not quite a puppy-dog post, but it certainly isn't raising the bar January 7, 2009 11:11 AM

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Rusty, this would normally be an internal issue, but it was made an external event due to a press release that was sent out. I monitor the web on a daily basis and this was picking up steam. I wanted to get folks some answers. It may not be the top of everybody’s list, but there will be more blog posts and more questions answered.

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RB said...Our perceptions of this issue are certainly divergent. If your so severely understaffed as you say how come Kelly Mae has time to Blog on the TSA's (and Tax Payers) dime while at work?
………
Every time I transit a TSA checkpoint I see clusters of TSO's seemingly standing around doing nothing but chatting with each other. January 7, 2009 12:27 PM

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Kelly Mae’s time on the TSA blog in the baggage room is perfectly acceptable. You guys have no idea how our operation is run, yet you are so quick to play armchair FSD. It was already explained earlier, but bags come through periodically. Sometimes you are so slammed you can’t think straight and other times, you are slow as molasses. Just because you are slow, you can’t leave the area and go to another work location, because more bags are going to come. If nobody is there, the bags won’t get screened and will have a chance of missing their flight. During these downtimes, TSOs are encouraged to read the SOP, complete training, or participate in the internal idea factory or the blog. TSOs like KellyMae should be commended for spending their time on the blog answering questions. It is greatly appreciated and I wish more TSOs would do the same, but I can’t blame them for not wanting to be thrown to the lions.

Also, these clusters of TSOs could be a variety of different things. It could be a brief or debrief. They occur at the beginning and end of every shift. It could be training. Or, before and after breaks, TSOs usually muster in one location since they are all working on the same lane. Before the break, the Lead or Supervisor has a quick talk with the group and makes sure everybody departs at the same time. When they return, they are awaiting an assignment to see what lane or even what checkpoint to report to.
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Anonymous said... Like I said yesterday and it didn't get posted..... This is no ones business. There is no reason for this to be posted to the public. January 7, 2009 1:38 PM

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As I’ve already said, the TSA wasn’t the first to make this public. I agree that this shouldn’t be a public issue. It was made public and we responded with an official statement and a blog post.

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Sandra said... IOW, the computer she uses to access the blog for personal reasons is one that is in a bag room, not a break room. You will notice she said the computer is also to be used for work e-mails and other TSA related issues. Contributing to this blog is NOT a requirement of her job and therefore she should not be using a work computer to do so. January 7, 2009 3:02 PM

----------------------------------

Sandra, do you work for the TSA?

----------------------------------

Anonymous said... Interesting that, once again, the zero tolerance applied to passengers isn't applied to TSA itself. You're tolerating potential illness among your workers which will further deteriorate morale and therefore have a negative impact on the traveling public. I find it interesting that your "team spirit" doesn't apply to those who suffer for their work. January 7, 2009 3:27 PM

----------------------------------

Maybe you missed the part where I said that TSA is providing cotton uniforms to those with issues? Did you also miss the part where I said TSA is working with the DOL to get to the bottom of this?

Bob
EoS Blog Team

RB said...

Bob said...
RB said... Of course it's not the cloth. It's the lead and mercury in the play "cop" badges. January 6, 2009 5:06 PM

----------------------------------

Would you feel a bit better if we made you a deputy TSO?

---------------------------
No thank you, I still have my self respect.


-------------------------------

Also, these clusters of TSOs could be a variety of different things. It could be a brief or debrief. They occur at the beginning and end of every shift. It could be training. Or, before and after breaks, TSOs usually muster in one location since they are all working on the same lane. Before the break, the Lead or Supervisor has a quick talk with the group and makes sure everybody departs at the same time. When they return, they are awaiting an assignment to see what lane or even what checkpoint to report to.
---------------------------------

The clusters I am speaking of are small groups of 2, 3 or 4's standing in the screening areas who appear to be doing nothing but chatting with each other.

I see others who are wanding, WTMD, Xray and doing pat downs and such. Still looks like excessive manpower.

Just my observation.
---------------------------------

RB said...

You pay taxes? Hmmm. Me too… Imagine that? I have specific vetting procedures that I follow. That’s all you really need to know.
................
Getting a little snarky Bob?

Ayn R. Key said...

Bob replies to many people, but my post was full of the questions never addressed and so my post didn't get addressed.

Trollkiller said...

RB said...
Getting a little snarky Bob?


I like Blogger "snarky" Bob better than Blogger "I am just posting the B.S. they told me to post" Bob.

Anonymous said...

I'd say Bob is having a "hissy fit".

Al Ames said...

Wow Bob, you can't take time to answer real questions, but you certainly have time to be a wise guy to everyone that posted. Guess we know where your priorities lie.

While I disagree that KellyMae's use of time is commendable, think about what you just said. She's there trying to answer questions and it's not her job. How often do you do that when it IS your job? I saw mostly barbs and a few easy answers, but nothing to the real questions that Ayn R Key asked. While I disagree with a lot of what KellyMae says, she and other TSO's post more than you or any official blogger do, Bob.

Now, if you'd just answer the real questions (you know, the ones you ignore) and if the TSOs who do answer would just give us consistent answers (they don't), we might be a little less hostile.

Love the "I'm not accountable" attitude, too, Bob. Thanks for reiterating what's wrong with TSA.

Al

Al Ames said...

TK: "I like Blogger "snarky" Bob better than Blogger "I am just posting the B.S. they told me to
post" Bob."

They both look the same to me. Both "Bobs" don't post anything of real substance.

Al

Bob said...

Anonymous said... If the uniforms only have "a few" reported cases, why did this memo come out to our airport: "Uniform Quality Issues…
Also, try taking a look at the IdeaFactory Bob (you must have access to it)- There are SEVERAL HUNDRED posts on there about uniform defects. maybe if you did the research BEFORE the post, you guys wouldn't look so uninformed. January 7, 2009 1:49 PM

-----------------------------------

Anon TSO, Where do I begin? This post is about formaldehyde in uniforms, not defects in uniforms. That memo is unrelated to this topic.

I am very aware of the Idea Factory, and yes, I do read it. Often...

-----------------------------------

Anonymous Said…"Only 20 complaints..." Bull Hockey!! At my airport alone (70 TSOs total) we have had at least that many rash complaints. Maybe only 20 "officially" made it up the line!
VF (non)Solutions is keeping TSOs money (allocations have to be used by a certain cut off date but the website "mysteriously" goes down for three days prior to the cut off), Shipping poor quality merchandise (why don't you talk about the puckering pants, pilling sweaters or seam splitting along the "bell hop" stripe), etc. etc. Not only that but after you wash your uniform (not everyone can afford dry cleaning)and they fall apart, VF disallows returns due to the uniforms being worn!!
Of course they determined the Formaldyhyde levels were safe, not only did they do the testing but maybe the rashes aren't being caused by Formaldyhyde! Did anyone think to check for anything else that might be causing this condition? D'oh! TSA TSM January 7, 2009 11:14 AM

-----------------------------------

TSM, have you done anything about the issue at your airport? If so, what? Which airport do you work at? Have you had the effected employees contact VF Solutions? Have you had them fill out the proper Department of Labor forms?

As far as the quality of the uniform, again, this post is about formaldehyde and the irritation TSOs are experiencing.

VF Solutions did not do the testing. A third party lab conducted the tests. Also, TSA is working with the DOL and is going to have another third party lab test the same shirts.

And if you read the blog post again, you’ll see that it reads: The testing tested for numerous irritants or allergens in or on the fabric, including formaldehyde. The testing showed that formaldehyde or any other irritant is NOT present in sufficient quantities to be the source of the skin irritation in a normal person…

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob answers your questions. Just because they are not all answered or answered to your liking does not mean you should come down on Bob. I work for the TSA and if I am right Bob probably has many more tasks than just the blog. Some of these questions require answers from subject matter experts and these types are so busy,I am sure they do not get back to Bob or any of the other bloggers right away. I am sure there are many obstacles. I think the TSA is doing a very good job considering all of the usual suspects here on the blog that are not happy with anything they say. My guess is that the TSA could answer all of your questions and you would still be unsatisfied. Oh and just in case you are curious, my shirt does not itch.

RT

Anonymous said...

"They both look the same to me. Both "Bobs" don't post anything of real substance."

Is Bob "happy to help"?

Ever notice you never see both of them in the same post?

Jim Huggins said...

Bob,

Someone asked why we aren't talking about the AirTran incident on 1/1/09. You replied:

The TSA had nothing to do with this. Why should we write about it?

Because TSA
publicly commented on the incident. If public press releases regarding an internal TSA uniform situation merit public discussion, the same standard would seem to apply to this incident as well.

TSA could have remained silent on the entire issue, since (as you point out) TSA was not involved (other than rescreening the passengers at AirTran's request).
But TSA chose to make a public statement: one which, in my opinion, seems to be an endorsement of the actions taken by AirTran. Of course, AirTran has since reversed course and apologized for its actions. Has TSA changed its opinion of the event?

RB said...

Oh and just in case you are curious, my shirt does not itch.

RT

January 7, 2009 8:11 PM

------------------------
We none TSA types could care less about your shirts. We care about the unlawful ID checking, not having a set of rules me must adhere to in order to transit a TSA Checkpoint and any number of other important questions that have been repeatedly asked for.

My personal opinion is that the new uniform looks much worse than the old.

RB said...

Bob, working late?

Trollkiller said...

RB said...
My personal opinion is that the new uniform looks much worse than the old.


It looks like a cross between a cop uniform and bellhop uniform.

RB said...

Oh and just in case you are curious, my shirt does not itch.

RT

January 7, 2009 8:11 PM

I was thinking more like a bus driver or such.

Regardless, what ever process was used to pick the uniforms certainly brings into question the method used or the judgement of the people who picked the winner.

Again, just my opinion.

Chris Boyce said...

Chris Boyce said... Bob, I'm surprised that your legal and contracting staffs would allow you, as an official of the TSA, to publish official views about this situation. If there is a quality issue, you (or whoever wrote this blog entry) and all of the self-identified TSA screeners who comment on the uniforms can severely restrict the government's ability to take punitive action toward the contractor. As a taxpayer, I want to know if this post was cleared by Francine and whoever was the contracting officer. BTW, I don't recall hearing about any problems with either of the two other uniforms. January 7, 2009 9:56 AM

----------------------------------
And then, Whiner Bob replied:

You pay taxes? Hmmm. Me too… Imagine that? I have specific vetting procedures that I follow. That’s all you really need to know.


Darn it, Bob, you're right again. I've been in the federal government since 1974 and I have never seen this type of vetting procedure. Also, I have never run across an agency General Counsel with as stellar a performance record as Francine. You should be very proud.

Trollkiller said...

RB said...
Bob, working late?


Maybe Mrs. Blogger Bob is mad at him. "You are blogging about uniforms and you won't even pick up your socks?" ;-)

Blogger Bob I know you are catching a bit of flak for this entry and I think YOU understand where we are coming from, but I want to publicly let you know I do appreciate the fact that you seem to be the only one at the TSA that is willing to stick with the blog.

(how was that for a run on sentence? teacher would be proud)

Speaking of sticking with the blog is Poster Boy still your side kick or are you looking for a new one? You know you have to have two to be a Dynamic Dou. Dynamic Uno just does not have the same ring.

Ok a few more short questions as we have seem to run the itchy uniform problem into the ground.

Who will be the interim replacement for Kip?

I think Francine's position is by appointment, is she staying?

Who will be the interim replacement for Chertoff?

Can I replace Poster Boy as a blogger?

Anonymous said...

You only get the cotton shirts (no Pants if your FSD approves the request. They will only approve the request if a doctor says the uniform is the cause. most doctors won't make that defintive a statment.

Dunstan said...

Bob said:
"And if you read the blog post again, you’ll see that it reads: The testing tested for numerous irritants or allergens in or on the fabric, including formaldehyde. The testing showed that formaldehyde or any other irritant is NOT present in sufficient quantities to be the source of the skin irritation in a normal person…"

It could be something not on the test list? Insect borne, dust, or pollen, and very localized since so few shirts are actually causing rashes, and only to sensitive skin. (Insert jokes about TSO sensitivity...) How and where in Honduras the clothing is being assembled, is it farmed out piece work in some cases?

Otherwise, could it be a curse placed by the collective minds of disenchanted flyers?

Dunstan said...

"Anonymous Said…"Only 20 complaints..." Bull Hockey!! At my airport alone (70 TSOs total) we have had at least that many rash complaints. Maybe only 20 "officially" made it up the line!
VF (non)Solutions is keeping TSOs money (allocations have to be used by a certain cut off date but the website "mysteriously" goes down for three days prior to the cut off), Shipping poor quality merchandise (why don't you talk about the puckering pants, pilling sweaters or seam splitting along the "bell hop" stripe), etc. etc. Not only that but after you wash your uniform (not everyone can afford dry cleaning)and they fall apart, VF disallows returns due to the uniforms being worn!!
Of course they determined the Formaldyhyde levels were safe, not only did they do the testing but maybe the rashes aren't being caused by Formaldyhyde! Did anyone think to check for anything else that might be causing this condition? D'oh! TSA TSM January 7, 2009 11:14 AM"

Maybe you should institute "casual Fridays" until this mess is resolved. The shirts those nice folks at Trader Joe's wear would probably solve the problem, plus add a much more festive air to security...

Anonymous said...

Snarky, but humorous comment ahead:

Trollkiller stated (about the uniforms):

It looks like a cross between a cop uniform and bellhop uniform.

That's about right. But you get all our high quality options free!

No need to request that your uniform be poorly cut! It's free! (Hello.. not all female TSO's are an 'A' cup).

You don't have to pay for our expensive multi-color dying process! It's free!(A TSO at one airport had at least 4 different colors of blue in his shirt.. I asked and he said it came that way).

And you don't even have to pay for the optional quality control service, because we don't have one!
(loose buttons, popping seams, bleeding dye....)

Yes, all these extra services are free, but there's more! Because these shirts are manufactured overseas, Americans workers lose more jobs!(Gee.. a federal agency buying products made outside the US.. Anyone remember the US Army beret debacle?)

Marshall's SO said...

"TSOs like KellyMae should be commended for spending their time on the blog answering questions. It is greatly appreciated and I wish more TSOs would do the same, but I can’t blame them for not wanting to be thrown to the lions."

Unfortunately, Bob, KellyMae's authoritarian attitude shows when she posts and it's exactly that attitude that so many of us complain about when encountering screeners. If her posts were helpful and accurate, perhaps posting from work would be acceptable, but when she displays attitude, they are not.

Anonymous said...

The clusters I am speaking of are small groups of 2, 3 or 4's standing in the screening areas who appear to be doing nothing but chatting with each other.

I see others who are wanding, WTMD, Xray and doing pat downs and such. Still looks like excessive manpower.

Just my observation.


Oh you must be talking about the "BDO clusters" lol...

-James

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Sandra wrote:

"TSO Rachel,KellyMae wrote:

"For your information, not that it really is any of your business, we have computers in each bag room to use for training, checking our work emails and any other TSA related issues when there is no bag to be checked."

IOW, the computer she uses to access the blog for personal reasons is one that is in a bag room, not a break room. You will notice she said the computer is also to be used for work e-mails and other TSA related issues. Contributing to this blog is NOT a requirement of her job and therefore she should not be using a work computer to do so."

---

I agree. It's really not too smart to admit on the internet that you are using a computer meant for work purposes for personal matters.
___________________________________

This is nobodys business! Get lifes people!

Jim said...

Dear Bob, Only 20 TSA officers complained?I know that to be totally untrue. The complaints may not have reached the official level due to the "hide it under the table" or "we don't want to make waves" mentality. St.Louis alone had at least 20 and West Palm Beach had four that I talked to on my way through the airport. There is an irritant in the long sleeve shirts of some kind, I personally had several rashes with two different long sleeve shorts. Until that irritant is identified I will not wear my long sleeve shirts no matter what I am ordered to do. I am really disappointed at the attitude our "superiors" are taking on this, it reminds me of another place and time when agent orange was considered totally safe.

Anonymous said...

KellyMae has feelings and we should all be constructive.

Anonymous said...

Bobby said...
"TSOs like KellyMae should be commended for spending their time on the blog answering questions. It is greatly appreciated and I wish more TSOs would do the same, but I can’t blame them for not wanting to be thrown to the lions."


I am an LTSO for TSA. While I do read the blog for some entertainment and some good information such as this uniform post, I do not participate on commenting very regularly. I do not want to give information based on my interpretations even though I do sometimes post anon with what I think is good information and clarifications. It is good to know that boggers at TSA actually appreciate some of the TSOs posting to help.

Marshall's SO said...
Unfortunately, Bob, KellyMae's authoritarian attitude shows when she posts and it's exactly that attitude that so many of us complain about when encountering screeners. If her posts were helpful and accurate, perhaps posting from work would be acceptable, but when she displays attitude, they are not.


I concur with Marshall's post.

HappyToHelp said...

James Said...
Oh you must be talking about the "BDO clusters" lol...

That was so funny I almost spit out my coffee this morning.

Ohhh... and to stay on topic. I hope you guys get to the bottom of this.

-H2H

Tomas said...

In speaking about the TSA uniforms...

Yet another Anonymous wrote...
Yes, all these extra services are free, but there's more! Because these shirts are manufactured overseas, Americans workers lose more jobs!(Gee.. a federal agency buying products made outside the US.. Anyone remember the US Army beret debacle?)

I have begun to wonder if we really make anything in the US anymore. :o(

(Do you realize that even US Passports are now made and assembled overseas? I'm sure THAT is a huge boost to security...)

Tom (1 of 5-6)

Tomas said...

Yet ANOTHER anonymous wrote...
This is nobodys business! Get lifes people!

Actually, it is someone's business, it is the business of the folks paying the bills, and that is the US Taxpayer.

So long as folks are feeding out of the public trough, the taxpayers have a right to know that their money is not being wasted.

Until we got the answer that explained that baggage comes through in bursts, and in those times between clumps of baggage employees are encouraged to use the provided computers to keep themselves and others informed (and that includes this blog!), there was a quite legitimate question about a TSA employee posting to a blog instead of rifling through people's underwear.

It IS our business.

Disclaimer: My wife has been a Federal Employee since March of 1965...

Tom (1 of 5-6)

Sandra said...

T the B said:

"Until we got the answer that explained that baggage comes through in bursts, and in those times between clumps of baggage employees are encouraged to use the provided computers to keep themselves and others informed..."

Unless I missed it, I don't think we got an official answer. I believe that what we got was Blogger Bob's personal opinion:

"TSOs like KellyMae should be commended for spending their time on the blog answering questions."

Anonymous said...

Join the club. TSA is an constant irritant to me and has been known to cause a rash on my posterior. There's many, many skin irritants besides formaldehyde. Fiberglass is an excellent skin irritant and wouldn't show up on tests for formaldehyde.

Slinky said...

All this concern over dye and itching of the new blue uniforms.
I would have thought there would have been a little more for the risk of being mistaken for a real LEO and shot.

"If the TSA stuck to its statutorily legal limits of searching for weapons, explosives and incendiaries instead of breaking the law by using forced ID verification as a criterion for granting access to the sterile area, you would have enough people."

Our TSOs patrol the curb, the parking lots, and the ramp, since they are so overmanned and they have to keep them busy doing something. Putting them in a rent a cop look alike badge and uniform sure doesn't make them any safer as far as I can see.
I wonder though how long it will be before the Gov uses the danger they are now in to justify arming them whenever they are performing duties outside of the sterile area?

Don't say it isn't possible. I would have suggested that most of theings you see the Feds doing today would not have been accpeted by Americans before 9-11.
Not that 9-11 justifies any of this.

Anonymous said...

I think it is not just keeping people safe but to keep the economy from taking a big hit if a plane goes down. This isn't about using planes as weapons anymore as that will never happen again.

-James

Anonymous said...

Bob;
I think its pretty peculiar that you decided NOT to post my comments about what affected TSO's should do to get information on this situation. Instead, you've decided to tell them to "follow your chain of command" when you have a TSM who has stated that only a fraction of those who have done so, have actually been given the cotton shirts, and that some FSD's are NOT approving the request. So what gives Bob? TSA Admin Kip Hawley has advised that TSO's are allowed to join the union and since this is a PUBLIC forum put down by TSA why is union advice to affected TSO's NOT being posted? Are we trying to silence the majority here Bob?

Anonymous said...

Quote from Bob:
"As far as the quality of the uniform, again, this post is about formaldehyde and the irritation TSOs are experiencing."

Bob - just what does "officially" mean in the post where you say "Only 20 complaints..."? Do posts on the Idea Factory count as "official"? or is it complaints from 20 different FSDs that made it to HQ? (representing how many individual TSOs?).

You really need to define your "Only 20 complaints..."?

For example I just popped on to the Idea Factory where in about 2 minutes search time (keyword: rash)I stopped counting at over 100 seperate complaints about rashes/irritation caused by the uniforms.

Sandra said...

Tomas, I apologize for not giving you the credit for a quote but rather giving it to another participant.

Tomas said...

Sandra wrote...
"Tomas, I apologize for not giving you the credit for a quote but rather giving it to another participant."

No problem, small error. :o)

Tom (1 or 5-6)

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said...
RB said...
My personal opinion is that the new uniform looks much worse than the old.

It looks like a cross between a cop uniform and bellhop uniform.

To me, it looks like the McDonald's Uniform at our airport. Yup, I'm the Big Mac Cop! TSO-Joe

Anonymous said...

Wow I've only ever gotten positive feedback for the new uniform. To think a TSO does not like it.

Anonymous said...

Anon said
Bob;
I think its pretty peculiar that you decided NOT to post my comments about what affected TSO's should do to get information on this situation. Instead, you've decided to tell them to "follow your chain of command" when you have a TSM who has stated that only a fraction of those who have done so, have actually been given the cotton shirts, and that some FSD's are NOT approving the request. So what gives Bob? TSA Admin Kip Hawley has advised that TSO's are allowed to join the union and since this is a PUBLIC forum put down by TSA why is union advice to affected TSO's NOT being posted? Are we trying to silence the majority here Bob?

Who are you considring a majority, Ive been with TSA since the beginning and want no part of a union. My mother paid union dues for 30 years never made more than 8.00 an hour and gets a retirement check of 100.00 a month. The unions didn't do the culanary workers any good in Vegas a few years back either. If you think giving your money to someone else is going to help you you're sadly mistaken. All you're doing is making an organization and it's leaders rich.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

To me, it looks like the McDonald's Uniform at our airport. Yup, I'm the Big Mac Cop! TSO-Joe


So do you ask the passengers if they want fries with their shake-down? ;-)

Sorry could not pass that Golden Archportunity up.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
Anon said
Bob;
I think its pretty peculiar that you decided NOT to post my comments about what affected TSO's should do to get information on this situation. Instead, you've decided to tell them to "follow your chain of command" when you have a TSM who has stated that only a fraction of those who have done so, have actually been given the cotton shirts, and that some FSD's are NOT approving the request. So what gives Bob? TSA Admin Kip Hawley has advised that TSO's are allowed to join the union and since this is a PUBLIC forum put down by TSA why is union advice to affected TSO's NOT being posted? Are we trying to silence the majority here Bob?

Who are you considring a majority, Ive been with TSA since the beginning and want no part of a union. My mother paid union dues for 30 years never made more than 8.00 an hour and gets a retirement check of 100.00 a month. The unions didn't do the culanary workers any good in Vegas a few years back either. If you think giving your money to someone else is going to help you you're sadly mistaken. All you're doing is making an organization and it's leaders rich.
***********************************
Anon, a union is only as strong as its collective membership. AFGE has been representing TSA employees from the very start of our agency and has won back jobs and back pay for many TSO's in the field. Of course, not everyone wants to join a union which is why its not mandatory, but I would rather have someone on my side in a time of need than to have to fight my own fight and hire my own attorneys. AFGE is 600,000 strong and growing, with thousands of those members from TSA, so you don't want to join a union, that's your right, but its also your right to join if you so choose. My point is not how many people choose to join, but that the union has information on how to get the necessary forms for the dept of labor, and how to obtain the cotton shirts, while our agency will only tell us to follow our chain of command. Thanks for expressing your opinion, anon and AFGE will be there if you ever change your mind.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller punned...
You know what they say "Life's an itch".
and also...
So do you ask the passengers if they want fries with their shake-down? ;-)

Sorry could not pass that Golden Archportunity up.

January 11, 2009 1:48 AM

Im really hoping you got those funnies out of your system. I'd hate to think that you were trolling for laughs... (best i could do with so little time. I gotta get back to work before sandra has a cow...

TSO Tony said...

Bob said ....

"TSOs like KellyMae should be commended for spending their time on the blog answering questions."

--

Maybe, but not on government time, on government resources, if the answers are her personal opinions (as they tend to be). Kellymae has the right to express her opinions about TSA and about the opinions of the other commenters here ... but, IMHO, not using official time and resources, unless those opinions are vetted and part of the performance of an official function, including a collateral duty assignment. When she uses official government resources, and ID's herself as a TSO, her opinions wrongly take on the color of officially-sanctioned TSA speech.

I understand something about how the baggage world works, and how Kellymae may have downtime while waiting for bags that need additional screening, and how it may be OK for her to pass the time on the Internet. But I think she (and other serving officers) should restrict their commenting to off-duty time using non-government resources.

It may be legal; it may even be perfectly ethical; but it also could take on the appearance of impropriety. If we want the public to trust TSA, we can't even afford the appearance of impropriety.

(For the record, I am writing this at home, on my personal computer, off-duty. If I post during the workday, I do so on break times using my netbook and public wifi. That's my comfort level on this issue.)

Anonymous said...

"If you think giving your money to someone else is going to help you you're sadly mistaken. All you're doing is making an organization and it's leaders rich."

Oh. You mean like paying taxes?

Sandra said...

Thank you, TSO Tony. You hit the nail on the head.

"Maybe, but not on government time, on government resources, if the answers are her personal opinions (as they tend to be). Kellymae has the right to express her opinions about TSA and about the opinions of the other commenters here ... but, IMHO, not using official time and resources, unless those opinions are vetted and part of the performance of an official function, including a collateral duty assignment. When she uses official government resources, and ID's herself as a TSO, her opinions wrongly take on the color of officially-sanctioned TSA speech."



Are you posting anonymously now KellyMae or was that someone trying to pin something on you:

"(best i could do with so little time. I gotta get back to work before sandra has a cow..."

Anonymous said...

Itchy shirts were probably made from thinner curtain material and contain fiberglass.

Anonymous said...

Sandra wrote:
Are you posting anonymously now KellyMae or was that someone trying to pin something on you:

NO this isnt Kellymae. Im just someone that feels better about himself every time i read one of your "contributions" to this blog. thanks again.

kellymae81 said...

Sandra said: Contributing to this blog is NOT a requirement of her job and therefore she should not be using a work computer to do so.

You know NOTHING of the job required of us so you need to focus your immense thirst to put your two cents in somewhere else. It is not a job "requirement" but we ARE encouraged to keep on top of TSA topics and this is one I choose to focus on b/c I can see from all points of view the issues that arise from both TSO's and passengers. I like the feedback from the passengers (when it is constructive, which in your case it is NOT!!!!!!!!!) b/c it has really opened my eyes on some things and has helped me to improve.
I'd really like to believe that you have never done ONE thing while at work that is not your "job". Think about it.

SDF TSO

kellymae81 said...

Marshall SO said: Unfortunately, Bob, KellyMae's authoritarian attitude shows when she posts and it's exactly that attitude that so many of us complain about when encountering screeners. If her posts were helpful and accurate, perhaps posting from work would be acceptable, but when she displays attitude, they are not.

Okay, I am going to say this as nice as I can. I am one of the TSO's that is on the PASSENGERS side when it comes to issues that I agree are unfair. I work with these issues every day and I believe some procedures are overdone, trust me, but unfortunately I can't change them so I have to tell you like it is.
All I have tried to do is answer questions for you guys on here and when I DO get a little bit snarky, its when someone (Sandra, for example) takes one of those posts and turns it into one of her own little snarky comments, on which the subject has nothing to do with what I posted. I am not going to just sit there and take it, I AM going to defend myself. I try to do it in the best manner possible, and I may not always come off nice, but the snarkiness that does come out of me comes purely from defense. Not from nowhere at all like some people on here.
You guys get tired of not getting questions answered and I would be too. But when I AM one of those with TSA whose does try to answer the questions for you, I either get hounded for the fact that its just opinion OR the comments I post get turned around to a completely different subject. So for those of you who want TSA on your side, thats me. That's what I am here trying to do is answer your questions and if you dont want to accept my efforts purely on the fact I'm not an "official" blogger, then that is on you, not me. I will continue my efforts regardless, b/c some on here do appreciate contributions from the TSO's.

And Sandra, I don't post as anonymous just to clear that up.

SDF TSO

Anonymous said...

wow. our itchy uniforms might have something to do with why we're so terse when passengers don't follow simple instructions like, "please hold on to your boarding pass so i can read it one more time." since this blog isn't just for passengers, some of us DID actually want to know what was going on with the uniforms. thanks for being self-centered, as usual.

Anonymous said...

I THINK THEY SHOULD REPLACE ALL THE UNIFORMS TO COTTON SHIRTS AND REPLACE THE PANTS ALSO.

KEEP EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE.

Anonymous said...

Bob The cotton shirts you mentioned are in fact avail however you failed to mention that tsa refused to pay for them arond the begining of february 2009.
I was effected to the extream of having an asthma attack only at work after months of being shoved off about my irritation from the shirts. we were denied ca-1's and told we were "crazy" and i can count on one hand 10 people at my airport alone that have been effected to the point that we had to go to the hospitle on numerous occasions. get your facts right !!!! H.R. is not reporting our reaction correctly and that is why your not getting all your facts right. do a little foot work before you report!

Anonymous said...

Only 20 people have complained about their long sleeves shirts? I think not,there are three times that many in our airport alone. Now not everybody is putting in a workers compensation claim because they are afraid it will be held against them.Some officers have been called "liars" by their managers because they've reported their problem. Something is in those shirts, now it might not be formaldehyde granted but lets error on the side of caution here and check it for anything else. We stop hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug money every year if not more. It would be no surprise to me if a drug lord may have had something put in the shirts to get back at us. They have the money and the resources to do it.

Jim

Anonymous said...

I work for an airline that gets our shirts from VF and hundreds of us reported severe, red chemical burns around the neck, chest and around the arms after we switched to these new white shirts. It was like wearing a shirt made of sandpaper. VF did tests and claimed nothing was wrong with their shirts so. .case closed... apparently. If these were school uniforms for children, they'd have been sued out of business.