The AFGE TSA Council 100 bargaining team worked hard to ensure the voices of the 42,000 Transportation Security Officers were heard by TSA at the negotiating table. Unfortunately, after a long, tedious process, the agency refused to agree to several important workplace issues. Despite this, all officers – that means TSA Officers, Lead TSA Officers, Behavior Detection Officers, and Security Training Instructors – now have the opportunity to vote on accepting or rejecting the contract in a process known as ‘contract ratification.’
The ratification process began on April 18, 2016 and will end on May 18, 2016. To view the tentative contract and voting instructions, visit www.afge.org/TSAVote.
TSA consistently ranks near the bottom of all federal agencies when it comes to employee engagement and satisfaction. Because TSA is not held to the same guidelines as other federal agencies, TSA officers are treated like second-class citizens compared to other public servants. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that TSA suffers from an unbelievably high employee turnover rate.
Officers are subject to intense public scrutiny as they balance speed and safety at security checkpoints. Airport travel is up 7 percent in 2016, but TSA hiring isn’t growing to meet the demand. Efficient and effective screening is rightfully expected by the flying public, and cannot be achieved by threatening to outsource the security functions at airports cross the country by bringing in cheaper and less-qualified contractors.
“The problem is simply that TSA hasn’t hired enough officers for the record number of passengers that large airports are seeing,” said Hydrick Thomas, AFGE TSA Council President. "The only safe way to shorten wait times is to hire more Transportation Security Officers. It's as simple as that."
Currently, TSA is losing 103 screeners every week through attrition. TSA officers are constantly denied sick leave and fair pay, fired with little to no reason, and are deprived of the basic workplace rights many federal employees have.
A bill currently in Congress, the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act (H.R. 4488), would help to change that. If passed, the bill will ensure that TSA can’t manipulate the rules when it comes to the workplace rights of officers.
Until TSA and Congress make full staffing a priority and create a fair workplace at the agency, TSA officers and the American flying public will continue to pay the price.