Union Seeks To Organize Transportation Security Workers

BOSTON – Since the creation of the Transportation Security Administration – following the attacks of September 11, 2001 – unionists have been trying to organize TSA workers; something the Bush administration and their Republican allies in Congress vigorously opposed.

The election of Barack Obama, a Democrat and supporter of labor organizing and collective bargaining, has energized union activists who will be holding rallies and press briefings for the media at airports around the country on Friday.

At Logan Airport in Boston, members of the American Federation for Government Employees Local 2617, which serves TSA officers and employees in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, along with supporters from the MA AFL-CIO, will urge Congress to pass legislation lifting an eight year ban on collective bargaining by TSA workers.

In a phone interview Thursday, AFGE Local 2617 President A.J. Castilla said “we protect 600 million people a year, and if things are not being done right…we certainly need to be able to communicate with the people who run this agency.”

Union organizers blame Arizona Senator John McCain for promoting the ban on collective negotiations in 2001 and more recently, Republican South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, for blocking approval of Erroll Southers for the post of Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and head of the TSA.

Southers supports union efforts to win bargaining rights for members who work for the agency.

Full interview can be heard at http://www.openmediaboston.org/node/1091

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