Title 5 Rights Bill for TSOs Wins Bipartisan Vote, Passes House Panel

Categories: TSA, The Insider

AFGE applauds the House Homeland Security Committee for approving a bill that would provide Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) Title 5 workplace rights, an important step to make sure that the new workplace rights they won under the Biden administration would not be taken away by a future TSA administrator.  

The vote to pass H.R. 903 was bipartisan with two Republicans Reps. Andrew Garbarino of New York and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey voting yes along with all of the committee’s Democrats.  

AFGE’s TSA Council 100 President Hydrick Thomas is very excited about the passage of the bill and is optimistic about the future of the TSA workforce.  

“This is a historical moment for the council. I think this is really going to happen this year,” he said. “We truly believe we will accomplish this. We just have to stay focused.”  

Council 100 represents nearly 46,000 TSA officers nationwide. Thomas said TSOs deserve the full workplace rights enjoyed by most federal workers. Every time they put on that uniform, they put their lives on the line since every single bag that goes through the airports is a potential threat. They need to be able to focus on protecting the flying public and not having to worry if they’re being unfairly treated by their employer.  

AFGE has been fighting for full workplace rights for TSA for almost the entire 20 years the agency has existed, and our hard work paid off under the Biden administration.  

On June 3, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas directed TSA administrator David Pekoske to issue a so-called Determination to give TSOs more workplace rights and a pay boost. TSA has 60 days from the day the memo was issued to provide Mayorkas with a proposed draft Determination and timeline for implementation.  

Mayorkas also gave the agency 90 days to develop a plan to make TSA’s pay system and worker appeal process more comparable to that of other federal workers.  

Since that memo was released, AFGE TSA leaders met with TSA and provided the agency with a draft Determination outlining our union’s priorities for ensuring fairness to TSOs and how TSA’s workplace policies should reflect that. We have secured TSA’s commitment to provide us with its final Determination draft for our review prior to it being sent to Secretary Mayorkas in August.  

TSA Administrator David Pekoske has informed us that as a result of DHS’s directive, the agency is currently negotiating an agreement with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for TSO appeal rights.  

AFGE thanks the Biden administration for making these positive changes. In order to prevent a future TSA administrator from undoing the progress that Secretary Mayorkas is putting into place, AFGE will continue to work for passage of legislation that would grant TSOs full statutory Title 5 protections.  

AFGE thanks House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson for championing H.R. 903 and Sen. Brian Schatz for introducing the Senate version, S.1856. 

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