Appeal Board Rejects TSA's Bogus Charges against TSO/Union Activist

Categories: TSA

It's not a secret that the Transportation Security Administration is one of the most anti-worker agencies in the federal government. Airport managers break their own rules and regularly refuse to comply with the labor-management contract. But TSA in Norfolk, Virginia, took ridiculousness to a whole new level.

Transportation Security Officer Nakeylla Simons, who is also AFGE Local 448 president, was terminated earlier this year for taking a picture with a celebrity and posting it on Twitter two years ago, among three other equally ridiculous charges. But thanks to AFGE's outstanding representation, TSA's Office of Professional Responsibility Appellate Board recently reversed the termination.

The board found that there is no policy which prohibits TSOs from being photographed with a celebrity while in uniform.  There also was no proof that the picture was taken while on duty or at the checkpoint. The board also rejected TSA's other bogus charges:

  • Accepting a gift from a "prohibited source." A passenger gave the TSO a CD as a gift and the TSO thanked the passenger on her Twitter account two years ago. The board did not find that to be unprofessional. The flying public is also never identified as a prohibited source and the CD was worth less than $20, the amount allowed under the Ethic Guide.
  • Failing to cooperate with an investigation; laughing and stating "it's funny" during an interview. The board found that the TSO had answered all the questions during the interview and that laughing and stating "it's funny" does not constitute not cooperating.
  • Making inappropriate comments and identifying herself as a TSA employee during the roll-out of the enhanced pat-down procedures on Twitter almost four years ago. TSA alleged that the TSO violated a TSA memo against any conduct that reflected poorly on TSA, impacted its ability to accomplish its mission, or caused embarrassment to the agency. The board found that the TSO's comments were more than three years old, were not inappropriate and didn't cause any harm to TSA and its mission.

At the same airport, the Local has just won its first arbitration case against TSA when a Letter of Reprimand (LOR) issued against a TSO was reduced to a Letter of Counseling (LOC). LOR is considered a disciplinary action, but LOC is not.

Local President Simons thanks AFGE and AFGE TSA Council 100 for their outstanding work representing her and the other member.  She encourages other workers to "follow all rules and regulations. Never give up, never quit, and always stand for what's right."

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