The American Federation of Government Employees has asked the Federal Labor Relations Authority to go forward with a representation election for workers at the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, arguing that the TSA’s statement that an election was premature was unsupported by labor law.
The TSA responded to an order by the FLRA to post a notice for the election— prompted by AFGE’s request by saying that since workers in the agency lacked collective-bargaining rights, it was unclear if the FLRA had the authority to conduct it.
Says Two Issues Unrelated
“The right of collective bargaining and the right to have an exclusive union representative are separate and distinct,” AFGE Staff Counsel and Assistant Director of Membership and Organization Cathie Mc- Quiston said in a statement April 27. “It’s plain as day that there is no legal justification for denying AFGE’s petition. The Regional Director should order an election, as requested by AFGE.”
AFGE, which is competing with the National Treasury Employees Union for exclusive representation of TSA workers, already represents Transportation Security Officers at airports nationwide, and while it cannot bargain for wages and benefits, it does represent workers in disciplinary actions.
“The Aviation Transportation and Security Act, under which TSA was created and is governed by, does not deprive the FLRA of its jurisdiction to conduct a representation election,” Ms. McQuiston said. “This is supported by the NLRB’s ruling that the limitation of collective bargaining rights of private TSOs had no effect on its jurisdiction to hold a representation election.”
Both AFGE and the NTEU have argued that the lack of collective-bargaining rights has led to low morale and high attrition rates in the agency.
“All of this could be made moot with the grant of collective-bargaining rights to TSA employees,” NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement. “TSA employees deserve collective bargaining rights, and granting them is the right thing to do.”