(WASHINGTON)-In a landmark arbitration decision, a panel of three prominent arbitrators on June 1 agreed with the American Federation of Government Employees-the union for Transportation Security Administration workers nationwide-and requiredfinality to impasse procedures if the parties are unable to reach an agreement in direct negotiations.
"We are very pleased with this decision because it means the process most definitely will result in a collective bargaining agreement for the TSOs," AFGE National President John Gage said. "This highly dedicated, front-line homeland security workforce has waited too long for a fair and safe workplace.
"Our first priority remains to negotiate a contract that improves the work lives of TSOs, and one that the officers will support and ratify," Gage said. "This win ensures the finality of the negotiations process and enables TSOs to get a fair collective bargaining agreement."
AFGE brought the case because, during negotiations, TSA claimed that if the parties fail to reach an agreement during negotiations, any ruling by an impasse arbitration panel would not be final. Management´s interpretation of the process under TSA Administrator Pistole´s Determination would have created an endless loop that could prevent the TSOs from ever obtaining a contract. AFGE argued and the panel agreed the Determination requires contract terms imposed by the panel to be final and binding. TSOs will have a collective bargaining agreement at the end of the process.
AFGE also brought the case to address whether TSA had to negotiate over the ratification/referendum process for the negotiations. The arbitrators agreed that AFGE has the right to negotiate over these provisions.
A copy of the full decision can be found at www.AFGE.org/TSAarbitration.