Airport screeners choose AFGE as their union

The American Federation of Government Employees will be representing some 43,000 federal airport screeners.

AFGE won a hotly contested runoff election against rival National Treasury Employees Union in an 8,903-8,447 vote, according results released Thursday by the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

An earlier vote — a three-way campaign between AFGE, NTEU and "no union" — ended inconclusively April 20 when none received a clear majority. In that election AFGE received just 274 more votes than NTEU.

One of AFGE's top priorities is to transition the Transportation Security Administration screeners from their current pay-for-performance system, called Performance Accountability and Standards System (PASS), to the General Schedule.

AFGE spokesman Tim Kauffman said the union's first order of business is to develop a negotiating platform for contract talks and then negotiate the screeners' first collective bargaining agreement. To prepare, AFGE has been surveying screeners to find out what they want to see in a new collective bargaining agreement. The union is still assessing the responses, Kauffman said.

He said the union will soon deliver petitions to President Obama and members of Congress that urge them to scrap the PASS system.

NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a statement she was disappointed by the vote but proud of the congressional lobbying NTEU did to help secure TSA's right to seek union representation.

"I know they face a number of significant obstacles in securing the kind of workplace and work environment they want and deserve, and I wish them well in reaching those objectives."

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