The Honorable Daniel Inouye, Co-Chair
Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee
508 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Inouye:
With the Senate moving rapidly to complete port security legislation, H.R. 4954, I wanted to express our deep concern regarding the weak worker security training provisions currently included in the Senate bill.
Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on America, we have not relented in our pursuit of aggressive port security measures and specifically, strong, uniform security training requirements ensuring the preparedness of longshore workers in the event of a major security threat or terrorism attack within an American port. Although we were told that the Senate version of H.R. 4954 would include a training program in line with the House-passed provision, we learned late yesterday that this is not the case.
We will not support legislation that makes port worker security training discretionary as reflected in the current version of H.R. 4954. There is no justification for leaving the training of front-line port employees to the discretion of the same Department of Homeland Security that has refused to act in this area for almost five years. A port security bill failing to include mandatory security training requirements does not secure our ports from the risk of terrorist threats.
We must ensure that before this bill is passed by the Senate, it is amended to require DHS to issue and implement a meaningful worker security training program. Port employees should not have to wait any longer to receive the security training they need and deserve.
I look forward to working with you towards this objective.
cc: John J. Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO
John Bowers, President, International Longshoremen’s Association
Robert McEllrath, President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union