(WASHINGTON)—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today praised the Senate for passing S.4, its version of the 9/11 recommendations bill that includes a provision allowing Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to have collective bargaining agreements, MSPB appeal rights and whistleblower protections.
“AFGE applauds the members of the Senate who voted in favor of fairness and justice,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “For too long, TSOs have been deprived of basic worker rights. With this vote, the Senate has voiced its support for TSOs to have the same rights as other federal employees, including those in the Department of Homeland Security.”
The next step is conference, where members of both the House and Senate will work to create one bill to present to the president.
“As the only union representing the TSA workforce, AFGE looks forward to working with Conference Committee members to ensure passage of this essential bill,” Gage said.
“TSA leads the federal government in attrition, injury and lost time rates, and EEOC complaints,” Gage said. “Only by making this a law will TSOs see an end to unsafe working conditions, workplace discrimination and retaliation, and fear of speaking out on issues of security.
“AFGE has lobbied Congress for such rights since TSA’s inception,” Gage added. “While the passage of S.4 is cause to celebrate, our work is far from done.”
AFGE thanks Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Committee members Sens. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) for their leadership on this issue.