Massachusetts Congressmen and Union Leaders Join Transportation Security Officers to Rally for Union Representation with AFGE



OnFridayJanuary8,approximatelyfiftylaborleadersandsupporters,aswellastwoMassachusettsCongressmen,joinedagroupofTransportationSecurityOfficers(TSOs)atLoganAirporttorallybehindtheirstruggletogaincollectivebargainingrightsandformaunionwithAFGE.
“MyTSOsarenotgoingtoletyoudown,”saidA.J.Castilla,PresidentofAFGELocal2617.CastillahasbeentheleaderofacampaigntoorganizetheTSOsatLoganAirportintotheAmericanFederationofGovernmentEmployeesforseveralyears.Andastheeconomicoutlookforworkingfamiliescontinuestodeteriorate,heismakingthepushharderthanevertowincollectivebargainingrightsforhismembership,whoselflesslyshowuptoworkeverydayandensurethesecurityof25millionpeopleayearinLoganAirport.
EmployeesoftheTransportationSecurityAdministration(TSA)havebeendeniedtherighttocollectivelybargainsinceformerPresidentGeorgeW.Bush’sbarredTSOsfromnegotiatingforacontractthroughanexecutiveorderin2001.Thefuture,however,lookshopeful.PresidentObama’sselectiontoheadtheTSA,ErrollG.Southers,isexpectedtorestorecollectivebargainingpowertoTSOsfollowinghisconfirmationintheUnitedStatesSenate.Itispreciselythisissue,however,thathasstalledhisappointmentasobstructionists,suchasSenatorJimDeMintofSouthCarolina,havehelduptheconfirmationbecauseofSouthers’scommitmenttochangetheagencyrulethatprohibitsbargainingforTSOs..ThefactisthatcollectivebargaininghasnoimpactontheabilityofaTSOtoperformtheirjobeffectively,andwouldonlyimprovemoraleamongemployees.Otherpublicsafetyworkers—suchasfirefightersandpoliceofficers—areallowedthismostbasicandfundamentalrightintheworkplace;whyshouldthosewhofighttoprotectpassengers’safetybedenied?
ThiswasthemessageechoedbyastunningamalgamationofleadersstandinginsupportwithA.J.CastillaattherallyonFriday.Thoseonhandincluded:RobertHaynes(President,MassachusettsAFL-CIO),CongressmanMichaelCapuano,CongressmanStephenLynch,RichRogers(ExecutiveSecretary-Treasurer,GreaterBostonLaborCouncil)MarkMacKenzie(President,NHAFL-CIO),JeffCrosby(President,NorthShoreLaborCouncil),SandyFelder(NortheastRegionalDirector,AFL-CIO),EdKelley(President,BostonFireFightersLocal718),BobCannatelli(President,AFACouncil92),TomRaiche(LegislativeAgent,IAMLocal1726),andBobLosi(PoliticalDirector,NationalPostalMailHandlersUnion).
“ThisistheessenceoftheLaborMovement”saidBobHaynes.“AFGEwillbesuccessfulinthiscampaign,andIlookforwardtothetimewhenwewelcome41,000AFGEmembersintotheMassachusettsAFL-CIO,withfullcollectivebargainingrights”.Thissentimentranthroughoutthespeechesdeliveredattheevent,andinspiredhopethatthislong-foughtstrugglemaysooncometoanend.


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