AFGE TSA Local 556 in Orlando, Florida, (MCO) recently won a case in which a local airport manager was found to have violated the AFGE/TSA collective bargaining agreement when she inappropriately cancelled TSA officers’ 15-minute breaks on the east checkpoint.
TSA officers are entitled to one 15-minute paid break for every four hours of scheduled duty. On August 6, 2014, however, the screening manager cancelled the breaks, prompting the Local to file a grievance with TSA’s National Resolution Center (NRC) alleging a violation of the contract because the breaks should not have been cancelled. In responding to the grievance, TSA claimed that the airport’s Federal Security Director (FSD) had delegated the authority to screening managers to suspend or postpone breaks as needed. An NRC senior reviewing official, however, sided with AFGE and ruled that, according to the contract, only the FSD has the authority to minimize, postpone, or in rare instances, eliminate breaks. The reviewing official directed management to comply with the contract.
“The practice of stopping breaks has been going on at MCO for years,” said AFGE Local 556 President Don Thomas. “The complaint was a team effort and it was done right after we took a class on the collective bargaining agreement by AFGE TSA Council 100 in which we learned about our rights.”
AFGE congratulates the Local on its great win. Airports are secure only when they are fully staffed by fully trained employees who are active and alert instead of exhausted from being deprived of their much needed breaks. Employees should not have to pay for management’s failure to hire enough employees and adequately staff the checkpoints.