TSA union blasts DHS over labor dispute


Union representatives of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees sharply criticized the agency’s leaders over its approach to labor negotiations
Union representatives of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees sharply criticized the agency’s leaders over its approach to labor negotiations.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which was recently elected to represent TSA employees, accused TSA managers of being “arrogant,” “top-down,” and “autocratic.”
“I think I understand the same frustration the flying public has shown to TSA management,” said John Gage, the president of AFGE. “We think there should be a house-cleaning.”
The latest remarks come over efforts to negotiate a fair system for employees to resolve disciplinary disputes.
Gage accused TSA Administrator John Pistole of refusing workers the right to a fair system. According to Gage, Pistole wants to institute a disciplinary dispute process overseen by TSA rather than an impartial third party, which Gage said is a basic tenet of labor rights.
“These folks, it seems, know very little about labor relations,” Gage said, “[Pistole] has set up a company policy that makes us a company union. We won’t be a company union.”
Since its creation in 2001, TSA employees have not been allowed to unionize, but earlier this year Pistole gave the green light for employees to form an official union. Unlike traditional unions, TSA restricted the union’s ability to bargain over wages.
The TSA union can, however, bargain over certain workplace processes like pay-raises and grievance systems, which labor leaders and TSA administrators have been negotiating over for the past six months to no avail.
Gage accused administrators of attempting to create a system that covers low employee morale and dysfunctional managers.
“Don’t think this is about homeland security,” he said. “It’s about hiding a management structure that’s incompetent.”
In response, a TSA spokesman said the agency “is committed to ensuring that all employees are given full due process rights and looks forward to continued discussions with AFGE related to these important issues.”


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