WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today charged the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with illegally trampling on the rights of our nation’s veterans and other professional federal employees who are dedicated to the security of our homeland.
In a class action suit, AFGE charges TSA with violating the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, the Veterans’ Preference Act, the Administrative Procedures Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as well as the First and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
AFGE points out in its complaint that TSA is ignoring veterans’ preference in its reduction-in-force (RIF) decisions, RIFing older employees and union activists many with spotless performance records. Retention registers have not been established, re-employment rights have been denied to employees who have been let go and no consideration is being given to employees’ length of federal service.
“The bottom line is TSA management is using its staff reduction to remove employees they don’t like, despite their performance record,” said AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage, Sr. “It’s not what you know, but who you know that lands you a job with TSA and the same criteria is being used to determine who goes and who stays.”
AFGE is asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to enjoin TSA Administrator James Loy from hiring new security screeners who have not previously been laid off and from laying off further security screeners. “There is a clear public interest in having a security screening force that can focus itself on maintaining aviation security and is not distracted by concerns of a future RIF that is not in accordance with law,” AFGE states in its suit.
“AFGE intends to continue filing lawsuits until TSA realizes that the laws of our nation apply to all citizens—even TSA screeners,” Harnage concluded. “Without a secure workforce, our nation’s homeland, including our skies, will not be secure.”
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 750,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia.