It's union time at America's airports!

by:JohnWojcikJune232011
40,000workersat450airportsacrossthenationarecelebratingtodayafterchoosingtheAmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployeesastheirunionandsolebargainingagent.
Theirvictoryendsaten-yearstrugglethatbeganshortlyafter9/11whenthenPresidentBush,ongroundsofprotectingnationalsecurity,tookawaythecollectivebargainingrightsofTransportationSecurityAdministrationemployeesatthenation'sairports.
InthemidstofunprecedentednationwideattacksontherighttojoinauniontheworkershaveelectedAFGEastheirexclusiveunionrepresentative.The8,903-8,447votecameinarunoffwiththeNationalTreasuryEmployeesUnion.Intheunionelectionearlierthisyeartheworkershadvoted8,369forAFGE,and8,097forNTEU,withonly3,111voting"nounion."Therunoffwasnecessarytoachieveamajority.
"Withalltheattacksonunionstheseworkersweregivenachoiceandtheysaid,'Wewantaunion,"declaredajubilantEmilyRyan,anAFGEcommunicationsspecialist,inaphoneinterview."Theysaid,'WeareAmericans,wedeserveavoiceonthejob,wehavearighttoaunionandwearegoingtohavethatunion."
Ryansaidthevictorywasparticularlysweetbecause,"Intenyearsthe40,000workershavegonefromhavingalltheirrightsstrippedawaybyPresidentBushtohavingthoserightsrestoredbytheObamaadministration,tohavingtofightforactualunionrepresentation,tothebigvictorytheyhavejustwon.Forthemitisoutofthedarknessandintothelight."
"Wearethrilledwiththeelectionresults,butmoreimportantlyweareoverjoyedthatthetransportationsecurityofficerswillhavethefullunionrepresentationtheydeserve,"saidAFGEPresidentJohnGage.
Alsopleased,AFL-CIOPresidentRichardTrumkasaid,inastatement."Today'svictoryaffirmsthedeep-seateddesireofworkersforavoiceonthejobandaseatatthetablewhengivenafreechoice."
Ryansaidtheworkersdeservecreditfortheirwillingnesstofightevenduringtheperiodwhentheyhadnocollectivebargainingrights.Duringthe10-yearstruggletorestorecollectivebargainingrights,sheexplained,morethan12,000ofthemjoined40AFGElocalunionsacrossthecountry."Theywantedtheiruniontobeinplaceassoonastheywonbacktheirrights,"shesaid.
AFGEsucceededlastyearinwinningoneofitskeybattleswhenTSAannouncedthatnomoreairportswouldbeprivatized.
KimAdams,nowaunionmemberinMontana,said,"WithinhoursofourcalltotheuniontohelpussaveourjobsandstoptheprivatizationofourairportsinMontanatheywentintohighgearinWashington.TheairportofficialsinMontanatolduswehadnochanceofstoppingthembuttheunionprovedthemwrong."
VedaShook,presidentoftheflightattendantsunion(CWA),saidthenewlyunion-representedsecurityworkers"playavitalroleintransportationsecurity.Wecountonthemeverydaytoensureasafeenvironmentforallourpassengersandforourselves."
DespitethecelebratorymoodRyansaidAFGEwillremain"onguard"todefeatfurtherattacksfromtherightoncollectivebargainingrights.
ShesaidherunionwasoutragedoverthefactthatGOPHousemembersvotedearlierthismonthtoagainstripfromTSAworkerstheirrighttocollectivelybargainbypassinganamendmentbyRep.ToddRokita(R-Ind.)totheHouseDepartmentofHomelandSecurityAppropriationsBill.
"Wearegoingaftersenatorstomakesurethatthisamendmentgoesnowhere,"saidRyan.
Theunionsaysthereisnoevidencethatcollectivebargainingrightsimpactnegativelyonnationalsecurity."Letusnotforget,"saidGage,"thatthe9/11policeandfirefighterfirstresponderswereallunionmemberswithacollectivebargainingcontract,anditwasAFGEpoliceatFortHoodwhodidn'tstoptochecktheircollectivebargainingcontractsbeforetakingdownakiller."
Headded:"Wewillnotallowthesecorporate,rightwingpoliticianstomakebeinginaunionun-American."



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