TSA moves to fire airport screeners

NEWARK — The Transportation Security Administration moved Friday to fire 25 employees at Newark Liberty International Airport and suspend 19 others for what it said was improper screening of checked luggage, the latest in a series of problems at one of the country’s busiest airports.

The alleged screening failures were uncovered late last year after surveillance cameras were installed in one of the airport’s 25 screening rooms to check for possible thefts, the TSA said.

Eight employees were fired in June in the investigation. The latest action raises to 52 the number of TSA employees at Newark caught up in the investigation, making it the biggest disciplinary action taken by the TSA at a US airport.


An official of a union that represents some of the Newark employees said Friday that it is likely the union will seek to have the employees reinstated. The union has seven days to answer the TSA proposal.

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‘‘The charges right now seem to be improper screening of bags, which we don’t feel is correct,’’ said Stacy Dodtmann, regional vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees. ‘‘We feel they performed their jobs to what they were trained to do.’’

The latest group cited includes screeners, as well as managers accused of failing to effectively supervise their employees. Among the allegations is that screeners failed to open up and physically check bags that had been flagged by X-ray machines.

The screeners cited for failing to follow procedures were removed from their jobs and given non-screening duties pending the investigation.

Associated Press