(WASHINGTON) - The American Federation of Government Employees, the union for Transportation Security Administration workers nationwide, on Dec. 20 held a press conference calling on TSA Administrator John Pistole to implement an independent neutral, third-party arbitrator to decide grievance disputes.
“TSA refuses to allow its employees the same due process rights afforded to other federal employees, including those at TSA’s head agency, the Department of Homeland Security,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “TSA’s actions bring to mind the anti-worker, anti-union laws we fought against in Wisconsin and Ohio.
“You’d think at an agency that just ranked 232 out of 242 as the best federal agencies to work, securing a collective bargaining agreement and moving toward a more content workforce with at least a reasonable attrition rate would be more of a priority,” Gage added.
The main issue at hand involves disciplinary and workplace violation appeals. Currently, appeals on those issues either can go to grievance, peer review or TSA’s Office of Professional Responsibility Appellate Board—both TSA biased and controlled. AFGE has asked for those appeals instead to go to an independent neutral, third-party to ensure fairness, transparency and due process. TSA countered that only the most serious actions could go to a Coast Guard administrative law judge.
“First, it doesn’t make any sense for a Coast Guard ALJ to hear a TSA appeal,” Gage said. “Second, Coast Guard ALJs still are DHS employees, which does not qualify them as neutral or third-party. And third, this would not give the employees opportunity for a hearing or to question the manager who disciplined them.”
Gage met with Administrator Pistole Dec. 19 to discuss the arbitration issue.
“It did not go well,” Gage said. “After six months of repeated meetings, numerous phone calls and letters written, there is no progress. The very dedicated TSA workforce demands action.”