Efforts by the state of Georgia to take over and privatize the busiest airport in the world have failed, thanks to AFGE, a coalition of labor unions, and TSA Local 554 members at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
At the request of Governor Brian Kemp, the Georgia legislature introduced a bill for the state to take control of the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport from the City of Atlanta. Recognizing that a state-appointed airport authority could have a negative impact on airport workers, the Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council formed a Labor Airport Roundtable consisting of affiliated locals including AFGE, IUPAT, Unite-Here, IAM, and SEIU.
AFGE members, retirees, staff, and our affiliate organizations held press conferences, published an op-ed, showed up at town hall meetings, and lobbied our representatives.
The take-over legislation, Senate Bill 131, passed the Georgia State Senate. However, thanks to our campaign, efforts to move the bill failed in the Georgia State House.
“This victory doesn’t belong to any one person or group,” said Shekina Givens, AFGE Local 554 President. “Collectively, this win belongs to the citizens of Atlanta, the 60,000 workers at the airport, and every organization and person that put their heart, sweat, tears, and time into this fight. We stood together this time, and we will stand together every time the representatives that we elect work against the best interest of the people for their political or personal gain.”
Thanks to our union, an administrative judge has ordered the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to change its national policy regarding medical disqualification removals following the wrongful termination of a TSA officer.
In addition to changing its national policy, TSA was also ordered to pay the officer one month of backpay and $100,000 in compensatory damages.
The officer was placed on paid administrative leave under the Job Search Program after suffering from temporary migraines. After seven days of administrative leave, TSA forced the officer to take unpaid leave while they determined if they would remove the employee. The officer was terminated a month later.
AFGE successfully argued that TSA discriminated against the TSO by forcing the officer to take unpaid leave for a month instead of allowing her to remain in a paid duty status. When other TSOs are proposed for removal for non-medical related reasons, they are allowed to remain in a paid duty status.
Here’s what happened as a result of our union’s win:
✔ A judge ordered TSA to pay an employee one month of backpay and $100,000 in compensatory damages.
Unfortunately, our union sees cases like these involving unfair removals and suspensions far too often at TSA. Here’s a flyer you can share at your workplace to let your fellow officers know about the policy change.
You may recall, during the last bargaining process, TSA claimed numerous AFGE proposals were “not negotiable” and refused to offer counter proposals or agree to our language. TSA then requested that the National Resolution Center (NRC) dismiss all of those 42 provisions and, not surprisingly, the NRC agreed with TSA and dismissed them all. In its dismissal, the NRC claimed those 42 proposals could not advance to the arbitration panel for resolution.
Our union argued that the NRC does not have the authority to dismiss provisions based on non-negotiability and only the arbitration panel determines which provisions should go into the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The panel agreed with AFGE and ruled that the NRC does not have the ability to dismiss contract language as “not negotiable.” AFGE won again when the panel recently ruled that the 21 provisions TSA tried to dismiss are negotiable and can be included in some form in the union contract!
What does this mean for you?
It means AFGE has fought back against the NRC's unfair grievance system and more of the union's contract proposals will be added to strengthen your rights at work. This is a huge win for TSA officers and our union. Congratulations to our AFGE TSA Council leaders for never giving up the fight to ensure all of our union contract proposals are considered.
As TSA officers, you are the first line of defense for aviation security. You protect passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and our country. You are an integral part of our national security framework, but do not have the same workplace rights and protections as other federal workers.
For years AFGE has been fighting on Capitol Hill and at the workplace to ensure you receive fair workplace rights. This year alone, we worked with lawmakers to get a bill introduced in both the House and Senate that would grant you Title 5 rights, finally put TSOs on the GS pay scale, and give you the same workplace rights as other federal workers.
If passed, the new bills would require TSA to include our union on all agency decisions. Our union would have increased input in personnel policies, the TSO promotion and awards process, and conditions of employment for officers.
The new law would expand union rights for TSA officers and AFGE. The TSA administrator would no longer have the right to issue determinations and agency mandates, as they have in the past, without first consulting with our union. TSA would be required to inform AFGE of any intended workplace and officer policy changes. If TSA wants to change or implement a new policy, AFGE would have the right to bargain over the changes. Our union would also have the right to be involved in position classification matters.
Protecting TSOs in the workplace is one of our top 2019 priorities, and we need your help. Call Congress today and ask your representative and senators to cosponsor H.R. 1140 and S. 944.
For more information, printable workplace flyers, and other resources to help us win the workplace rights TSOs deserve, visit www.afge.org/Title5.
AFGE continues to fight unfair suspensions, removals, and other reprimands by managers against TSA officers at airports nationwide. When we stand up and fight for workers’ rights, we win! Here are some of AFGE’s biggest recent wins at TSA:
✔ Thanks to our union, the Office of Professional Responsibility Appellate Board (OPRAB) overturned the performance-based removal of a Local 1260 TSA officer at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The need for solidarity with your union brothers and sisters has never been greater. Together, we will fight these privatization battles and win Title 5 rights for TSOs.
Here's how to join us in the fight:
✔ Visit the Title 5 page at www.afge.org/Title5 to find out how to get your member of Congress to become a cosponsor of H.R. 1140 and S. 944 to secure Title 5 Rights for all TSOs.
There are countless ways you and your TSA sisters and brothers can be even more involved with YOUR UNION. There is no time like the present to organize and mobilize!