AFL-CIO Affiliate: Port Security Bill has Sensible TWIC Reforms

press release
Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The House Homeland Security Committee today approved needed reforms to the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program that would eliminate financial and logistical burdens faced by transportation workers under this federal security program.

The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) supports language in the Securing Maritime Activities through Risk-based Targeting Act, known as the SMART Port Security Act (H.R.4251), which would postpone requiring workers to renew TWIC cards in the absence of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) final regulations mandating biometric card readers. The bill also includes essential reforms to the enrollment, activation, issuance and renewal process.

“Despite concerns about the program from the outset, workers across the country fulfilled their legal obligations by applying for the TWIC biometric cards, which, without the proper hardware in place at ports, turns TWIC cards into expensive flash passes,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind. The first wave of applicants, beginning in October, must pay $132.50 to renew their cards if this legislation is not enacted.

This bill also would ensure that workers are only required to make one in-person visit to an enrollment center, lifting a logistical burden from workers who may be hundreds of miles away while on the job.

Transportation workers with TWIC cards will greatly benefit from these important program reforms, which would suspend the TWIC renewal process until June 30, 2014. “We thank Chairman Peter King (R-NY) and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) for their work on this legislation, and for recognizing the burden that was being placed on our transportation system and its workers,” said Wytkind.

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