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(Nov. 9) -- The world's largest independent union of pilots, the Allied Pilots Association, is telling its members to boycott body scanners at airports due radiation exposure. Pilots and regular passengers have the option of refusing to enter the scanner, referred to as Advanced Imaging Technology scanners (AIT), and submitting instead to a pat-down.

Last week, David Bates, the president of the 11,000-member union, penned a letter explaining the union's concerns to the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration:

We are exposed to radiation every day on the job. For example, a typical Atlantic crossing during a solar flare can expose a pilot to radiation equivalent to 100 chest X-rays per hour. Requiring pilots to go through the AIT means additional radiation exposure. I share our pilots' concerns about this additional radiation exposure and plan to recommend that our pilots refrain from going through the AIT. We already experience significantly higher radiation exposure than most other occupations, and there is mounting evidence of higher-than-average cancer rates as a consequence.
The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, a critic of the "sham" security at America's airports, defends the pilots' reasoning and asks whether it even makes sense to search pilots' bodies at all.

"It is a source of continual astonishment to me that pilots -- many of whom, it should be pointed out, are military veterans who possess security clearances -- are not allowed to carry onboard their airplanes pocket knives and bottles of shampoo, but then they're allowed to fly enormous, fuel-laden, missile-like objects over American cities," he writes.

It's a good point, but one that allows for a small quibble. Given that airline flights often have two pilots in the cockpit, one can envision a scenario -- admittedly unlikely -- in which one pilot uses a weapon to wrest control of the plane from another.
 

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(Nov. 9)

It's a good point, but one that allows for a small quibble. Given that airline flights often have two pilots in the cockpit, one can envision a scenario -- admittedly unlikely -- in which one pilot uses a weapon to wrest control of the plane from another.
Majority of pilots are already packing heat. They can defend themselves. This boycott is not about radiation as much as it is against the sham that we know as "airport security".
 

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Don't forget that pilots, over a career, get a massive dose of high altitude radiation that rest of the population doesn't get. All radiation that you receive over a lifetime from flying, x-rays, etc. is cumulative. The more you get, the higher the liklihood of radiation caused leaukemias and other cancers. Adding daily trips through a low-dose radiation system is probably not the right thing to do for them. I think an alternative system should be developed for pilots that gives them a pass. We already have such a system at customs for people who travel internationally on a regular basis. They go through a comprehensive screening process one time that allows them to essentially bypass customs as they enter the country.
 

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Flight attendants union upset over new pat-down procedures

PHOENIX - A flight attendants union with 2,000 members is upset over what it calls "invasive pat-downs" recently implemented by the TSA.

"We're getting calls daily about peoples' experiences, our members are concerned," said Deborah Volpe, Vice President of the Association of Flight Attendants Local 66.

Volpe confirmed that the union is offering advice to its flight attendants, who mostly work for Tempe-based USAirways, involving the security moves.

According to a union email obtained by ABC15, it tells flight attendants if they opt out of using the body scanner through security and are required to undergo a pat-down to ask the pat-down be conducted in a private area with a witness.

"We don't want them in uniform going through this enhanced screening where their private areas are being touched in public," said Volpe. "They actually make contact with the genital area."

Some passengers have told ABC15 they've already encountered flight delays due to crew members having problems with TSA employees.

"It (delay) was over three hours when they finally found a crew member to take her place," said Les Johnson who says his Charlotte bound flight was delayed. "She (flight attendant) felt that she was groped and supposedly filed a claim."

According to Volpe, complaints from flight attendants are expected to continue to increase and said some flight attendants are planning to file lawsuits.

"They've already contacted the ACLU," said Volpe when referring to some members of the union. "We don't know if somebody may have had an experience with a sexual assault and its (pat-down) going to drudge up some bad memories."

Volpe made it clear the union is not against security.

"Security is the most important aspect, our offices were used as murder weapons," said Volpe. "Keep in mind we undergo extensive background checks and we fly quite often."

Volpe said she has been a flight attendant for nearly 25 years and she and other union leaders are pushing for a "crew pass" system that would allow flight attendants and pilots to essentially by-pass security.

"We don't want to delay anyone, we just feel this pat-down is a little much."

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/lifestyle/travel/flight-attendants-union-upset-over-new-pat-down-procedures
 
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