John Gage, national president, AFGE
By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
The votes are in.
Transportation Security Administration employees across the country have elected the American Federation of Government Employees as their exclusive union representative with an 8903-8447 vote.
In a statement, AFGE National President John Gage said he's thrilled with the results and "will be reaching out to TSOs at airports across the country for their input as to what they would like to see in a contract."
Then, Gage told Federal News Radio, the union "will be selecting TSOs to actually sit at the bargaining table and we will present our proposals to management, and I believe that we will be able to bang out the first contract, and a world class contract for TSOs."
Gage said he's looking forward to representing TSOs, telling the Federal Drive, "the folks really need a good union and I think we're going to make the safety even better, as well as get some better working conditions for the TSOs."
Gage described TSA's Performance Accountability and Standards System (PASS) as "absolutely a fraud. There's nothing objective about it. It has no credibility with the officers. It doesn't even make sense in theory." AFGE, said Gage has some better ideas of how to evaluate performance and set pay standards.
Gage noted TSOs are "probably underpaid in their base pay five, six thousand [dollars] compared with the GS system," and converting to the GS would be a "hell of a good start".
Other issues Gage said need to be addressed include:
The treatment of women, including restrictions on leave and duty not imposed on men,
Uniforms and uniform allotments,
A fairer merit promotion system and,
Fairer leave systems.
In April, voting between AFGE and the National Treasury Employees Union was separated by only 274 votes with neither receiving the majority of the vote. That resulted in a run-off election, with voting ending yesterday.
In a press release, NTEU president Colleen Kelley "said she is proud of the many advances-including collective bargaining rights-NTEU secured on behalf of this workforce during the course of the campaign." Further, "While I am disappointed TSA Officers did not choose NTEU," said President Kelley, "I know they face a number of significant obstacles in securing the kind of workplace and work environment they want and deserve, and I wish them well in reaching those objectives."
Results of the TSA union representation election were announced Thursday by the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), which oversees federal sector labor-management relations.
Gage estimated there are "less than 39,000" TSA workers in the representation pool.
Both Gage and Kelley said they do not expect any protest of, or objections to the election.
According to Gage, "this will be a quick celebration and then we really go to work and I'm really looking forward to it."
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