RealNews

Homeland defenders cite burnout dangers

The men and women guarding Michigan’s borders — a critical front in the war against terrorism — say they have reached their breaking point. In a rare move, the cash-strapped union representing 161 U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service workers is demanding arbitration on a list of grievances union leaders say has crushed morale, sapped the workforce and left the agency dangerously vulnerable to the type of human error that could result in a terrorist slipping into the state. Forbidden to strike, it’s the strongest action the union can take. The move follows a series of upheavals in their work lives that began with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was recently capped by a new federal program requiring visiting men from some ethnic-Arab countries to meet a registration deadline. Employees were already pulling 16-hour shifts at Michigan’s bridges, tunnel and Metro Airport because of elevated terror alerts when, in October, their vacation days were indefinitely postponed, their schedules and some job assignments were changed, and managers demanded doctors notes for sick days. Full Story

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