Federal Workers Look Forward to Obama Administration

They have a variety of concerns that federal workers want the new administration to consider when it takes office in January. They expect to have a new friend in the White House and a greater number of buddies on Capitol Hill, with the increased Democratic margin in Congress.

"The only thing the unions are looking for Obama to do is be fair," said John Gage, president of the America Federation of Government Employees. "We understand that he's not going be in lock step with our positions on everything."

During a call with reporters and in a press release issued this morning, Gage placed great emphasis on efforts to secure collective bargaining rights for airport screeners employed by Transportation Security Administration.

He cited an October letter from Obama to Gage that said "advocating for TSOs [transportation security officers] to receive collective bargaining rights and workplace protections will be a priority for my administration."

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, also cited her union's efforts to organize screeners. "I am optimistic this will be successful under an Obama administration," she said in an interview.

"President-elect Obama has said that he wants to make public service 'cool' again," Kelley added in a statement released by her office. "This will become increasingly important as the so-called 'retirement wave' of federal employees crests in coming years. NTEU looks forward to working with him to turn back the tide of negative perceptions about the federal workforce and make public service a viable and desired career path for young workers."

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