Dozens of union members, elected officials and community supporters gathered at Seattle-Tacoma (Sea-Tac) Airport this week in solidarity with tens of thousands of transportation security officers (TSOs) who want to form a union with AFGE.
The Seattle rally shows workers across the country are standing strongly behind the employees who protect the flying public. The AFL-CIO and affiliated unions are mobilizing to draw attention to the plight of these workers and the unfair ways they are being treated.
Even though federal border guards, immigration and customs and Federal Protective Service employees are already union members, TSOs still do not have collective bargaining rights.
“We are here to show the Transportation Security [Agency] workers that the AFL-CIO is a family of labor, and that an injury to one is an injury to all,” said Rick Bender, president of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC).
We want the TSO workers here at Sea-Tac Airport to know that our affiliated unions are standing with you as you take this historic step to unionize with [AFGE]. We will stand with you in solidarity now, and we will be there for you as you move forward with your organizing efforts across the country, and then work with you to secure a contract to protect your rights as workers.
The event was organized by WSLC and the M.L. King County Labor Council and included several area unions, which presented statements of solidarity.
“Transportation security officers are the front line of homeland security,” reads the WSLC Statement of Solidarity.
Just as you work hard every day to protect us, and everyone who utilizes our nation’s airlines, we will support you in your struggle for justice on the job.
Although TSOs have been denied the freedom to bargain collectively, 12,000 of them are members of AFGE, which regularly represents them before the Transportation Security Agency Disciplinary Review Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Congress and in the courts.