Thanks to AFGE’s outstanding representation, an arbitrator recently reversed a charge of absence without leave (AWOL) against a Newark Airport TSA officer who was unable to get to work because of a severe snowstorm and mass transit issues. The officer was one of more than 200 TSA employees who called in to report that they couldn’t get to work on Feb. 13, 2014 when the area was hit with an 11-inch snowstorm and public transportation was not operating and roads were impassable.
After realizing he was charged with AWOL, the officer filed an annual leave request for that day, but TSA denied his request. AFGE Attorney Gregory Watts represented the officer at a hearing and was able to show that the officer was treated differently than another officer who was in the exact same situation but was not marked AWOL. The arbitrator ordered TSA to pay the officer for that day and remove the AWOL from his personnel record. The TSO was also awarded overtime pay for a shift the following day that was forfeited because of his AWOL status.