Even though the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has not been confirmed, AFGE is moving ahead quickly with its plans, seeking an election so transportation security officers (TSOs) can join a union.
On Feb. 22, AFGE filed a petition with the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) for an election to allow the 41,000 TSOs to vote on union representation. In 2003, the Bush administration stripped the workers of collective bargaining rights. The FLRA is moving the petition through its election process quicker than usual, AFGE President John Gage said on the “Inside Government” radio show.
Under law, the TSA administrator will decide if workers can have bargaining rights. The workers would then choose a union to represent them. President Obama this week nominated Maj. Gen. Robert Harding as TSA administrator. The previous nominee, Erroll Southers, withdrew after his nomination was held hostage by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) because DeMint opposes allowing TSA workers the freedom to form a union.
Gage told “Inside Government” today:
We’re not asking anybody for rights. We have these rights as citizens. We’re basically asking the Congress, the Senate [and] the administration to get out of our way in exercising these rights.