will have in dealing with the agency will not be known until a number of legal
challenges are resolved.
AFGE President Bobby Harnage said he would serve as interim president of the
new Local, which will cover all screeners nationwide. The White House declared
screeners will not be allowed to engage in collective bargaining, but AFGE has
challenged that position in court.
The union also petitioned the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to
represent TSA employees at nine airports, and Harnage said more such petitions
would come soon. He said the FLRA requested asked TSA to clarify its collective
bargaining stance, and will issue a ruling on what sort of representation vote
can be held.
Harnage said if AFGE were banned from representing screeners in wage
negotiation, it still would be able to champion their rights in other areas.
This would be the first time the union has represented federal employees without
having bargaining rights, said Harnage.
He said the union "may not be able to negotiate a collective bargaining
agreement at the moment, but we sure as hell can provide [screeners] with
representation in other critical areas, such as on Capitol Hill, in the courts
and at their workplaces." Harnage said AFGE could lobby, file unfair labor
practice complaints, protect whistleblower rights, and ensure worksite safety.
AFGE said the need for such representation is highlighted by the fact that
some TSA employees have been working six- to seven-day work weeks, and 10- to
12-hour shifts. Harnage also claimed some employees have been without paychecks
for six weeks.