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America's Outrage Over TSA Naked Body Scanners Fits Right into Libertarian PR Project to Prevent Workers from Unionizing

The right fears nothing more than unionized workers, and found a cunning way to scapegoat workers to derail a campaign to organize the TSA.

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Fortunately for TSA employees, this story ends on a marginally less depressing note. John Pistole, Obama’s TSA chief, finally granted the TSA workforce the right to unionize. However, Pistole’s order, like so many Obama Administration policies, barely qualifies as an improvement: the TSA’s union will only be allowed to negotiate peripheral issues such as shift bids, awards, transfers, and uniform allowances. Unlike other federal employees, the TSA union will still be prohibited from negotiating more important matters like disciplinary standards and job qualifications. As has been the pattern for decades, the Democrats are granting labor the bare minimum promised.

Employees voted overwhelmingly to unionize this April -- 84% said “yes,” despite the restrictions. There will be a second round of voting beginning in May and closing June 23 to decide between the two unions vying to represent TSA employees -- the AFGE and the smaller National Treasury Employees’ Union.


*NOTE 1--FROM THE AUTHORS: “To those of you who feel duped, I apologize”—so writes John Tyner in a contrite blog post headlined “The ‘Whole’ Truth”  dated November 30, 2010. A week earlier, he was the biggest media sensation in America, freeing us from state tyranny; by the time he apologized to America, America had already lost interest and moved on.

Last Thursday, we published anarticle documentinghow last November’s strange anti-TSA hysteria was just the latest and most visible chapter in a decade-long corporate-sponsored rightwing war against public sector labor. Their goal: to prevent TSA workers from unionizing. Our article was a follow-up to an earlier article in The Nation, which triggered a vicious smear campaign to tarnish our integrity and discredit our reporting. This isn’t the first time we’ve experienced this when exposing rightwing corporate-backed Astroturf campaigns. The exact same sort of smear-campaignwas waged against our February 2009 investigative article exposing the Tea Partyas a fake-grassroots movement sponsored by the Koch Brothersand FreedomWorks.

In this latest article on the TSA for AlterNet, we not only provided overwhelming evidence that the anti-TSA campaign was just the latest chapter in a decade-long Republican war to prevent TSA employees from unionizing, but we also reported a shocking confession by John Tyner—the supposedly innocent bystander who fought back against the TSA Gestapo and became the unofficial spokesman of the anti-TSA movement—in which he admitted to deceiving the public and the media. Even more shocking, on the same day he posted his famous “don’t touch my junk” TSA video, Tyner destroyed evidence that would have exposed him, because he feared that if he didn’t, the public wouldn’t believe his “don’t touch my junk” story with the TSA. Even though Tyner has already admitted to concealing his previous posts and "duping" his audience, nevertheless, the same sleazy collection of hired PR flaks, libertarians, and others invested in the fake anti-TSA campaign (including some who claim to be progressives) are resorting to smear tactics all over again. At this point, it’s impossible for them to claim they innocently fell for Tyner’s TSA story, or the scores of otherfaked TSA incidentsacross the country.

So let us get a few things straight for the record:

* The Nation did not apologize for our November article on the TSA; it apologized personally to Tyner. The Nation did not call into question our reporting or our facts, nor did The Nation retract our article or take it down. That’s because our reporting was solid and well-sourced. Rather, the Nation apologized to Tyner—before Tyner confessed that he’d deceived us, The Nation and the public.

* Tyner claimed he had not planned in any way to make a scene or provoke the TSA. He even deceived Lawrence O’Donnell point-blank on live television:

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