January 09, 2003
Diane Witiak
John Irvine
(202) 639-6419

AFGE Files With Federal Court Over TSA’s Effort To Ban Rights Of Screeners

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—AFGE filed a lawsuit today in federal court challenging the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) decision to deprive screeners of their right to organize, one of the most basic American freedoms.

“TSA officials do not have the authority to deprive workers of their rights to join a labor union,” said AFGE National President Bobby L. Harnage. “TSA’s broad and highly questionable personnel authority certainly does not include taking away first amendment rights.”

Claiming TSA chief James M. Loy does not have the authority under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act to prohibit screeners from organizing, AFGE officially filed the complaint with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“AFGE is going to vigorously fight on behalf of the 56,000 airport screeners throughout the U.S. to overturn this unlawful decision by Bush Administration officials,” added Harnage.

TSA passenger, baggage and lead screeners experience unscheduled shift changes, forced overtime, sexual harassment and delayed paychecks. Baggage handlers are working without protective equipment when searching for explosives. Only under union protection will TSA workers have the assurances they need in order to do the best job possible for the American people.

AFGE is the largest federal employees union, representing 600,000 federal and D.C. workers. For a copy of the lawsuit (Civil Action Number 03 0043RMC) and more information on federal screeners, log onto Be sure to visit the new Department of Homeland Security Web site at

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