September 16, 2019
The attack on union dues is real.
Every day TSA Officers screen over 1.7 million airline passengers. Every day they stop, on average, 8 guns from getting on to airplanes. And yet, they’re treated like second-class federal employees with lower pay and fewer rights at work — every single day.
Since TSA Officers rejected the last TSA contract in a ratification vote earlier this year, the AFGE TSA Bargaining Team went back to the table to continue the fight — and they didn’t go alone.
TSA Officers held rallies across the country, called lawmakers, and appeared in news programs and newspapers across the country. Because of the work they did, 19 of the most powerful members of the U.S. Senate rallied to our cause. Last month, those senators sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and encouraged TSA to give TSA officers the same civil service and labor rights enjoyed by other Department of Homeland Security employees.
“They have simply chosen not to respect our efforts to improve the workplace and raise morale for the 43,000 TSA officers who put their lives at risk to protect the flying public,” said Hydrick Thomas, AFGE TSA Council 100 President.
TSA doesn’t operate like most federal agencies. At any given time, the TSA Administrator can issue new management directives or 'Determinations' that outline labor-management relationship guidelines.
During the middle of contract negotiations, TSA issued its most recent determination. In it, they declared many of the contract issues we advocated for as ‘non-negotiable.’ TSA’s claim that these items are non-negotiable is simply not true.
That's why AFGE is taking those provisions to arbitration. The remaining terms will be submitted to a panel of independent arbitrators to determine how those issues will be resolved.
Although the deck was stacked against them, the negotiating team reached agreement on a majority of the contract.
Despite the constant excuses and barriers thrown up by the agency's representatives, the AFGE negotiating team made some progress. TSA has agreed to:
Now, the negotiating team will help explain the new contract and meet with TSA bargaining unit employees to determine if the contract should be ratified. No matter what happens, AFGE remains the exclusive union representative for TSA Officers.
TSA Officers may never get a fair contract until Congress steps up and holds TSA management’s feet to the fire. AFGE members have been relentless in their conversations with lawmakers about the hardships that TSA Officers face.
Currently, a bill in Congress, the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act (H.R. 4488), has 73 cosponsors and the list is growing. This law would put TSA Officers on the General Schedule pay scale and provide them with much needed worker protections like the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
For now, AFGE will continue working on behalf of TSA officers in demanding they receive the respect and fair treatment they deserve.
The attack on union dues is real.
A tweet from President Trump set in motion a chain of events that led to some employees at the NOAA being threatened because they wouldn’t alter their forecasts to fit the political winds.
AFGE and other unions representing employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs completed the final step in our lawsuits against the VA for removing hundreds of employees from official time.