By Amy Shlaes, Philly.com
Relief was the main sentiment of travelers who planned to pass through John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York when security workers there canceled the threat of a Christmastime strike.
Yet two questions linger. The first involves the workers’ grievances. They complained of making only $8 an hour. Why so low, you wonder, especially compared with what union workers in security-related jobs get. The guards, hired by the contractor Air Serv Corp., were so angry that one of them even expressed a warning that those in safety fields often don’t make explicit: that a labor action could compromise the public’s security. “They will be completely unsafe,” said the guard.
The second question is why the nation now confronts the prospect of more labor trouble that could inconvenience the public or jeopardize safety.
The answer to both questions lies in the failure of an old grand bargain made in the name of safety.