Teamsters not happy about TWIC fees

| 5/16/2006

Though the proposed rulemaking has yet to be issued, some groups are already expressing displeasure with some aspects of the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Worker Identification Credential program.

A spokeswoman for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters told Government Executive Magazine that her group is concerned about the fees for the program that are in the proposed rule.

TSA officials say funding for the program would come from the workers themselves, who would be expected to pay $139 to receive the card.

Workers with current, compatible background checks – including truckers who have hazmat endorsements – would be charged $105. Cards would be valid for five years.

Leigh Strope, spokeswoman for the Teamsters, told Government Executive that her group has “concerns about the cost of the TWIC program and the impact it will have on port drivers who are already living at poverty levels.”

But Rod Nofziger, director of government affairs for OOIDA, said the Teamsters seem to be more concerned about the job security of the port workers and trying to organize the drivers, and the fees themselves probably won’t cost the drivers as much as is feared.

“From what I understand, most port workers’ fees would be covered by their employers,” he said. “Port truckers would be a bit more on their own, but with the supposed driver shortage they could make a case for those fees being covered by the companies they are leased to.”

Nofziger said OOIDA is certainly not endorsing the fees, but he cautioned that the Teamsters’ motivations could be different from their rhetoric.

– By Terry Scruton, senior writer