Posted: June 18, 2010.
The union for airport security screeners began informational picketing Thursday in Indianapolis and around the country, pushing for an expansion of collective bargaining rights and calling for a cooperative new director of the Transportation Security Administration.
The American Federation of Government Employees is picketing at Indianapolis International Airport and other airports to provide information to members, union leaders said.
The union has limited rights to represent the 40,000 airport employees of the TSA nationwide but wants the ability to bargain on pay and other financial issues. The group has asked Congress to confirm a director who would recognize the union.
TSA workers staff security checkpoints, examine passengers and their bags, and operate the full-body scanning machines before passengers board airplanes.
President Barack Obama has nominated John S. Pistole, deputy director of the FBI and a former Hoosier, to head the TSA. Pistole is facing a second round of Senate committee confirmation hearings this week.
Under Senate questioning last week, he was noncommittal about his approach to labor unions.
Leaders of the Washington-based union have stopped short of endorsing the nominee.
The union represents airport workers on some issues but has been unable to persuade the two previous administrators of the TSA to grant the union full recognition to bargain for wages and other benefits. The TSA was formed in 2001.
The permit to picket and distribute handouts in Indianapolis limits activity to 30 days, which began Thursday, according to Reggie Baumgardner, director of security for the Indianapolis Airport Authority.