Michael Going Back to Work

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Recently by Michael Roberts: Protect Yourself and Your Family Against TSATyranny

     

As I was driving up to DC last week, the Chief Pilot in Houston called to ask what I wanted to do when my current leave of absence expires (which it did yesterday). I told him nothing had substantially changed from the last time I spoke with the company – TSA has conceded not to abuse crew members, but has reserved for itself the authority to randomly pull us out of line and frisk us. I’d like to return to work, but if some government agent decides he wants to put his hands on me without provocation, I still do not consent.

Last time my leave of absence was up for review, this response earned me an extension on the previous leave. I assumed I could expect the same this time and in the future until our lawsuit with DHS/TSA gets resolved. Instead, the company is for whatever reason willing to put me back to work under those terms now and I’ll be in Houston this weekend for re-qualification training, followed by several days in the classroom later this month, and then it looks like I’ll be back to work.

I flew down to Houston today to pick up some manuals and stuff I need for this weekend, and got through the security line in MEM without a hitch. They were scanning and frisking the passengers, and what struck me (aside from their docile, sheep-like obeisance) was how long and slow-moving the line was in view of the light volume of traffic at the airport at that time.

The fight goes on, and I really hope the planes I fly will be empty in back (though I’m afraid it looked like business as usual today). It’s still not safe to take my wife and kids to the airport with me, but maybe I’ll be able to feed them again in another month or so when the paychecks begin to reappear!

I didn’t think I’d be back to work any time soon, if ever. I was content to have avoided being exploited or abused by TSA security guards and hopeful – as I still am – that things will change for the better as our case and others move forward and as the public is made more aware of what is really going on. Now my head is spinning as I’m trying to study and prepare for training in Houston (I haven’t thought about my job or airplanes for three months!) Stay tuned; I’ve got some work to do, but I’ll report back…

Michael S. Roberts [send him mail] is a pilot for ExpressJet Airlines. His website is FedUpFlyers.org.

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