SF airport security ponders walkout

The Associated Press
Thursday November 22, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — Security screeners at San Francisco International airport are unhappy about the new airport security law, and they’re thinking of walking off the job during the year’s busiest travel weekend. 

The new federal law requires that airport security workers be U.S. citizens. But 60 to 80 percent of the 1,200 screeners at SFO are legal residents, not citizens, according to Daz Lamparas, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union Local 790. 

He said there was “strong sentiment” to take action among the workers who are not citizens. 

“They have nothing to lose anyway because they will be laid off in the next three to six months,” he said. “They are really upset. The morale of the workers is really very low.” 

The union met late Wednesday and planned to meet again during the holiday weekend, Lamparas said. They could walk out as early as Sunday, a huge travel day as people return home after Thanksgiving. 

Lamparas said the union opposes the walk out. 

If many screeners call in sick on Sunday, it could shut the airport down, according to SFO spokesman Ron Wilson. 

“It would be tremendously disruptive,” he said.