Mandatory transit security training inches closer to reality

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The U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs on Thursday, Feb. 8, approved the Public Transportation Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, which addresses improvements in transit security. Chief among them is transit worker security training, which the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL-CIO has spent years fighting to make mandatory.

“More than five years after 9/11, workers still do not know what constitutes a security risk, though they are told to be ‘vigilant’,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department. “They do not know how to respond when they see someone or something suspicious – and they certainly do not know what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.”

Wytkind said the vast majority of transit workers are not receiving meaningful security training. “Already dealing with extremely tight budgets, experience shows that leaving the choice up to employers does not lead to a sufficient number of workers being trained in a comprehensive way that prepares them for worst-case scenarios,” he said. “We applaud Chairman Christopher Dodd and Ranking Member Richard Shelby for requiring training that will benefit frontline workers and the public they serve.”