WASHINGTON – The union representing nearly 45,000 Transportation Security Officers at the Transportation Security Administration secured important gains for agency employees in a first-of-its-kind interest arbitration decision announced today.
The American Federation of Government Employees went to arbitration with the agency last year after agreement could not be reached on several provisions of the union’s collective bargaining agreement. After six days of hearings in April, May and July of last year, and months of review by the arbitration panel, the decision comes as a solid victory for the TSOs.
“This is a very important step forward for TSA employees,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “TSOs voted AFGE as their exclusive union representative to build a movement strong enough to improve the notoriously difficult conditions they work under every day. There is still much to be done, but this decision moves us firmly in the right direction.”
The decision contains a diversity of groundbreaking provisions impacting the shift-bidding process, employee certifications, and parking subsidies.
“This decision tackles some longstanding issues that have frustrated TSOs for years. Since the agency’s inception, many TSA employees have paid steep airport parking rates, receiving only a small subsidy to offset a portion of the cost. With this decision, AFGE successfully increased that subsidy by up to 25% at the most expensive airports, and will bring others under the subsidy for the first time. This will give our TSOs a small, but much-needed dose of financial relief,” Cox said.
This decision is just the latest in a series of victories AFGE has secured for TSOs since the union began organizing them just months after the agency’s founding. Before AFGE arrived at TSA, employees had no right to join a union, bargain collectively over working conditions, or obtain a binding, enforceable contract. Under their landmark first contract in November of 2012, which was ratified overwhelmingly by the employees, TSOs saw increases in their uniform allowance, the introduction of a seniority-based shift bidding system, a shift trading system, airport transfer rights, and a more employee-friendly leave certification protocol. There are still more issues to be addressed, but this is now a strong first contract.
“I want to applaud each and every one of our TSA brothers and sisters for coming together and taking a stand against unfair working conditions,” AFGE TSA Council 100 President Hydrick Thomas said. “There is strength in numbers, and together we can accomplish great things.”