In airports across Canada and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa flight attendants lobbied this week for federal government action on airline security.
“Airport and airline security issues must be addressed in the upcoming federal budget,” says Frano0069s Bellemare, president of CUPE’s Airline Division.
“As front line workers we know that security must be taken seriously and provided by qualified, trained and resourceful public sector employees. Contracting out vital security services to the lowest bidder will not work.
“We have proposed a 54-point plan for airport and airline security. We know what needs to be done and how to do it. We also know what will not work.
“Two key security issues are: prevention on the ground, and protection in the air. The federal government is responsible for both,” he says.
CUPE flight attendants are lobbying to have airline security screening conducted by federal peace officers. “That way they’d be linked to intelligence sources and ensure that screening and security clearance meet national standards,” Bellemare says.
The union also supports the call for federal air marshals on international and domestic flights. “This would ensure the safety of crew and passengers. While we support locked cockpit doors, we know that once the pilot is locked in, we flight attendants and passengers are without backup. We need trained security personnel on every flight.”
CUPE is calling for these measures to be funded by the federal government, if necessary, by levying a passenger security charge.
“The federal government must take action. They have the responsibility and the ability to set standards and ensure they are met,” says Bellemare.