AFGE Efforts Lead to Enhanced Whistleblower Protections at TSA
(WASHINGTON) - As a direct result of the American Federation of Government Employees’ effort to push for real whistleblower protections for Transportation Security Officers, TSA today announced the implementation of an agreement with the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board that should provide for enhanced whistleblower protections.
The TSA/MSPB agreement allows TSOs to appeal whistleblower retaliation complaints to the independent Board. Previously, TSOs who were disciplined or fired for blowing the whistle could only file their complaints with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, whose decisions TSA could ignore. Now TSOs can appeal OSC decisions to MSPB.
“In theory, this new policy should prevent supervisors from retaliating against TSOs who blow the whistle on wrongdoing and security breaches,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “While these safeguards are an improvement to the current system, they fall short of affording TSOs full whistleblower protections. TSA is still not allowing the workers to appeal a negative decision to the federal courts, which current whistleblower protection law allows other federal employees to do.
“The agreement also allows MSPB and TSA to negotiate on the procedures governing the processing of TSO whistleblower complaints. It is imperative that MSPB issue their own regulations and not negotiate with the agency they are overseeing,” Gage added.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 700,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.