Union Claims 'New TSA Administrator Is Crucial To Agency Improvement'
A Union posturing for more of the action that may come with Pro-Union bargaining changes for TSA workers notes that the TSA's ranking as the worst place to work within the Department of Homeland Security 'should come as no surprise.' The American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage has responded to the Partnership for Public Service's annual Best Places to Work survey, by noting, "After all, this agency has the unique distinction of clinging to the bottom of the barrel for many years now."
There are many who would agree wholeheartedly with that statement -- but more for reasons having to do with the way that the TSA experience is communicated to the traveling public rather than the concerns over how much TSA workers may like their job. Indeed, to many folks who have to deal with the rudeness, interruptions, delays and the overall unpleasantness of interfacing with the TSA, this may seem like poetic justice... but we digress (Sorry... couldn't help it. --Ed.)
AFGE, though, is painting TSA employees as the victims in all this, claiming that 'TSA has a proven pattern of showing little to no concern for its employees.' The Union cites the over-hyped Swine flu scare as one reason for this opinion... "Most recently, in the midst of the H1N1 flu outbreak, TSOs across the country have been denied the use of routine precautionary measures granted to other DHS workers whose work brings them into close proximity with airline passengers and crew. In spite of AFGE's demand that TSA outfit TSOs with protective gear and put affected TSOs on administrative leave, in typical TSA fashion, acting TSA administrator Gale Rossides responded almost three weeks later, stating that TSOs were safe using 'gloves and hand sanitizer' and could follow "standard leave practices"-the very practices that often result in a TSO automatically being written up for a single instance of unscheduled leave, no matter the reason."
"TSA routinely denies its employees basic workplace protections," Gage said. "Before the flu emergency, it was uniforms laden with formaldehyde and a refusal by TSA to replace the uniforms or to give TSOs the same uniform allowance other DHS workers receive. Before that, it was retaliation for filing workers compensation claims after being injured on the job.
"What will it take for DHS to get the message? A new TSA administrator should immediately be appointed, and that person's first order of business must be to institute full collective bargaining rights at the agency," Gage added.
In the meantime, AFGE is actively working with union-friendly legislators and seeking cosponsors for H.R. 1881, legislation that grants Transportation Security Officers the same collective bargaining rights and workforce protections as other federal workers.
AFGE is the largest federal employee union representing 600,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia, including tens of thousands of DHS employees in agencies such as the Border Patrol, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Protective Service, FEMA and TSA.