Buoyed by Obama Win, AFGE Steps Up Campaign to Organize TSA Employees

TheAmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployeestodaycongratulatedSenatorBarackObamaonbeingelectedpresidentoftheUnitedStates,andre-launchedanationwideefforttorecruittensofthousandsofTSOsintotheunion.
"AFGE'scampaigntoorganizeTSOsdatesbacksevenyearstotheagency'sinception,"AFGENationalPresidentJohnGagesaid."However,inspiredbySenatorObama'selectionwin--andhissupportforbothTSOsandAFGE'sendeavorsatTSA--AFGEtodayre-launcheditsmembershipdrivewiththegoalofdemonstratingthestrongdesireofthisworkforcetofinallybegrantedfullworkplacerights."ObamaandGagehavemetonseveralrecentoccasions,duringwhichObamahasofferedsupportforAFGE'sefforts.InanOct.20lettertoAFGE,Obamastressedthat"itisunacceptableforTSOstoworkunderunfairrulesandwithoutworkplaceprotections...Collectivebargainingrightsensurethatfederalagenciesrunaseffectivelyaspossibleandareabletofocusonprotectingournationalsecurity...agreementsalsoprovideanexcellentstructuretoaddressissuessuchasafairpromotionsystem,theschedulingofovertime,shiftrotation,healthandsafetyimprovements..."
TheunionhasworkedcloselywithCong.NitaLowey,D-N.Y.,tohelpsignco-sponsorstoH.R.3212,abillintroducedbyLoweythatwouldrepealafootnoteoftheAviationandTransportationSecurityAct(underwhichTSAwascreated)thatgivestheTSAadministratorfreereinto"employ,appoint,discipline,terminate,andfixthecompensation,termsandconditionsofemployment"forTSOs.
Untilthatfootnoteisoverturned,andwithun-questionedsupportfromPresident-electObama,AFGEismountinganunprecedentedefforttosendaclearandconcisemessagetothenewTSAadministrator:acollectivebargainingagreementwillhelpTSOsbetterservethepublicbecausetheworkforcethatbestprotectsthecountryisaworkforcethat'sproperlycompensated,welltrained,andfairlytreated.
"TSOsonlyaskforthesamerightsasotherfederalworkersandsimplywantasystematicandfairmannertodealwithrealday-to-dayissuesintheworkplace,thatwhenappropriatelyresolved,resultinastrong,loyalworkforce,"Gagesaid."TSOsknowfirst-handthatAFGE--asthelargestandmostpowerfulfederalemployeeunioninthecountry--isthebesthopetheyhaveofquicklyobtainingtheworkplacerightstheyhavebeensounjustlydenied."
AstheonlylaboruniontorepresentTSOssincetheagency'sinception,AFGEistheforemostauthorityonlaborissuespertainingtotheTSAworkforce.MembersofCongressmostoftenlooktoAFGEastheofficialsourceofinformationonTSAmattersandtheunionfrequentlyisinvitedtotestifyonsuchissues.AlthoughTSOsremaindeprivedoftherighttobargaincollectively,AFGEregularlyrepresentstheseemployeesbeforetheTSADisciplinaryReviewBoard,EEOC,Congress,andincourtsandthemedia.AFGEremainsthestrongestadvocateforworkplacerightsatTSA.
AFGEisthelargestfederalemployeeunionrepresenting600,000workersinthefederalgovernmentandthegovernmentoftheDistrictofColumbia,includingthelargestconstituencyofDHSemployees.AFGEhasbeentheonlyuniontorepresentTSAemployeessincetheagency'sinceptionandwithmembersin129airportsnationwide,iswidelyrecognizedastheTSAunion.


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