Posted: June 17, 2010
Informational pickets from the union representing security screeners at Indianapolis International Airport are expected today to begin passing out leaflets outside the passenger terminal.
The union that has limited rights to represent the 40,000 employees nationwide of the Transportation Security Administration is trying to win full recognition for collective bargaining. And he union is calling on Congress to confirm former Hoosier and FBI Deputy Director John Pistole as the next top administrator of the TSA.
The American Federation of Government Employees is setting up similar informational picketing lines at airports across the country.
The AFGE has received a permit to picket and distribute printed materials for 30 days beginning today at the airport here, according to Reggie Baumgardner, director of security for the Indianapolis Airport Authority.
Under terms of the permit, a maximum total of five picketers spread over three designated locations will be allowed to pass out leaflets at a time.
Those sites are at the two employee shuttle bus stops on the north and south ends of the upper driveway and at the entrance to the pedestrian bridge between the terminal building and the parking garage.
AFGE union representatives said their informational picketing and leaflets are aimed at communicating with their own members.
However, the public may also see the picketers because the three locations are also visible to the public and in the path of airline passengers and visitors entering the Col. H. Weir Cook Terminal.
The permit limits the hours for picketing from 3:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
AFGE represents about 600,000 federal government employees nationwide, including the 40,000 employees of the TSA. About 12,000 of those TSA members currently pay dues.
It is the workers of TSA who staff the two concourse security checkpoints at the Indianapolis airport, checking passengers and their bags and luggage and operating the full-body scanning machines before passengers board airplanes.
The AFGE does represent the workers on some issues but has been unable to convince the two previous administrators of TSA to grant the union full recognition to bargain for wages and other benefits.
Last week in the first round of Senate committee hearings in Washington, Pistole was non-committal about his approach to full recognition of the union. His 27-year history in the FBI included no union activity.
A second round of Senate committee hearings on his confirmation continues today.
The AFGE is calling for confirmation of a new director to take charge of the agency and has voiced no opposition to Pistole.