WASHINGTON – Today, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) National President J. David Cox Sr. testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security’s Transportation and Protective Security Subcommittee at a hearing about President Trump’s FY 2019 budget request for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Cox asked the committee to consider three solutions to ongoing concerns at TSA: instill objectivity and fair compensation to the TSA pay system; adequately staff checkpoint and baggage screening; and end the separate and unequal personnel systems at TSA.
“TSA Officers appreciate the challenges of protecting the flying public, but wonder when they will receive tangible acknowledgment of their hard work and assistance in performing their duties,” Cox said. “Despite their important role in the seamless framework of aviation security, the TSO workforce continues to be confronted with serious workplace issues.”
Cox also urged the committee to adopt the federal government’s General Schedule (GS) pay system for the TSA Officer workforce and adjust the pay of longer-tenured TSA Officers to compensate for years of wage stagnation.
“TSA Officer paychecks fail to represent the importance and expertise demanded of their work,” Cox said. “The workforce deserves a pay system that is fair and adequately reflects their training, complexities of tasks, and seniority.”
TSA has higher attrition rates than other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) components where the rank and file workforce are afforded workplace rights and protections. The President’s FY 2019 TSA budget calls for an additional 687 full-time officers, but AFGE says that’s only the first step. AFGE continues the call for 5,000 additional officer positions to address the staffing shortages created by attrition and TSA’s erroneous projections.
“Declines in attrition rates from astronomical highs of over 20 percent to the current rate of 12 percent is nothing to brag about and detrimental to security,” Cox explains.
TSA’s failure to maintain an adequate workforce leads to overworked officers and less security for the flying public. It also exposes TSA Officers to the loss of their federal jobs as airport operators threaten to privatize screening. AFGE and members of the Florida congressional delegation are currently fighting against attempts to privatize screening at Orlando International Airport (OIA) by the airport aviation board.
TSA Officers are critical to the agency’s mission and integral to our national security framework. But, they face unnecessary difficulties created by TSA’s failure to seek the funding necessary to address staffing shortages and to adequately compensate officers.
Click here to read a copy of the full testimony.