February 03, 2011
Emily Ryan
(202) 639-6421

Collective Bargaining Rights Finally a Reality at TSA

(WASHINGTON)—After a nine-year battle to secure workplace protections for Transportation Security Administration employees, the American Federation of Government Employees today praised Transportation Security Officers across the country for their unwavering commitment and tenacity in fighting for collective bargaining rights to be granted.

TSA Administrator John Pistole today announced that after an exhaustive review of data collected from TSA managers, employees and stakeholders, he has decided to grant partial collective bargaining rights to the TSA workforce.

AFGE National President John Gage today released the following statement:

Today marks the recognition of a fundamental human right for 40,000 patriotic federal employees who have been disenfranchised since the inception of the agency.

We have come a long way since AFGE first began representing TSOs in 2001 when the union took up the fight for a federalized security officer workforce. The granting of these rights is a step in the right direction and gets us in the door. After AFGE wins the election to be the sole union at TSA, we will move immediately to the table and be ready to negotiate.

For nine years, TSOs have had to deal with issues of dangerous workplaces, discrimination, selective hiring practices, nepotism, management intimidation, and reports of lax oversight at the agency with only AFGE to stand between them and an often arbitrary and capricious management.

Now many issues will be up for negotiations, including seniority, shift biddings, transfers and awards. I can guarantee that after AFGE negotiates a contract, TSA will not rank anywhere near the bottom of the Best Places to Work survey, as it currently does at 220 out of 224 federal agencies.

This could never have happened without the advocacy of numerous members of Congress, including Sens. Joe Lieberman, Daniel Akaka, Claire McCaskill, Tom Harkin, Barbara Mikulski, and U.S. Reps. Bennie Thompson, Nita Lowey and Sheila Jackson Lee.

AFGE has never wavered in our support for the TSA workforce to enjoy their right to bargain collectively over issues that impact their workplace. We never gave a second thought to the amount of fight it would take to gain bargaining rights, and we are proud to be the only union to stand with TSOs since the agency’s inception.

In November, the Federal Labor Relations Authority accepted AFGE’s petition for exclusive union representation at TSA. Now that election also will determine the ability of this much-deserving workforce to bargain for a legally-binding contract. We have the utmost confidence that TSOs will join the tens of thousands of other DHS employees already represented by AFGE and vote overwhelmingly for AFGE when the time comes.

AFGE is the only union to represent TSOs since the agency’s inception, and currently has more than 12,000 dues-paying members in 40 AFGE TSA Locals across the country. For more information, please visit

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