By Leischen Stelter - 06.28.2011
WASHINGTON—After months of battling, the American Federation of Government Employees on June 23 won the right to be the exclusive bargaining agent for the nation’s 44,000 Transportation Security Officers.
The AFGE beat out the National Treasury Employees Union, 8,903 to 8,447, reported The Washington Post.
This was the second round of voting by TSOs after initial six-week voting period that ended on April 21 did not determine a clear winner because too many officers chose the “no union” option. For this second round of voting, only the AFGE and NTEU were listed on the ballot.
“We are obviously thrilled with the election results, but more importantly are delighted that the Transportation Security Officers now will have the full union representation they rightly deserve. AFGE thanks the TSOs for their support and faith in our union,” said AFGE President John Gage, according to the publication.
This was the largest group of federal employees ever to be formed into a bargaining unit.
This came after Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole announced on Feb. 4 that he would approve collective bargaining rights for TSA employees, despite vocal opposition by Sen. Jim DeMint during Pistole’s confirmation hearing, just more than a year ago.
DeMint caused a stalemate and the eventual withdrawal of previous nominee, Erroll Southers, with allegations Southers would grant TSA employees collective bargaining rights if confirmed to head the TSA.