But surviving the confirmation process may be the easy part for Pistole. The new administrator now must address what two unions representing TSA employees are pushing as the key issue at the agency—collective bargaining rights for Transportation Security Officers.
Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, one of the unions currently representing TSA employees, applauded the confirmation—and then issued a call to action.
“The best way to aid TSA in reaching the goals Congress set for it, and that the traveling public expects of TSA, is for its workforce to have a meaningful voice,” Kelley said, “and no mechanism provides such a voice as well as the right to bargain collectively.”
John Gage, national president of the other TSA union, the American Federation of Government Employees, also offered congratulations—and a demand for action on the issue.
“It is essential that TSOs are afforded the same rights to negotiate over important workplace issues, due process, whistleblower protections, veterans’ preference, appropriate salaries, fair pay increases, and leave policies as other federal workers,” Gage said, “including other Department of Homeland Security employees, including those working for the Border Patrol, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Coast Guard, Federal Protective Service, FEMA, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement …”
To see more, go to: www.afge.org and www.nteu.org.