(WASHINGTON) - The Federal Labor Relations Authority today accepted the petition from the American Federation of Government Employees to hold a union election at the Transportation Security Administration.
“AFGE argued, and the FLRA agreed, that the right for employees to elect an exclusive representative and the right to engage in collective bargaining are two separate and distinct rights,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “We have always said the choice to unionize and the task of winning collective bargaining rights at TSA would be a two-part process.
“While we wait for the decision on collective bargaining rights that TSA Administrator Pistole has indicated will come soon, the election process can begin to move forward,” Gage added. “TSOs have waited long enough for both formal representation in the workplace and for the same collective bargaining rights held by Border Patrol and Federal Protective Service officers, ICE agents, FEMA employees, DoD civilians—as well as those screening officers that work for TSA contractors.
“The decision to allow for an exclusive union representative means that Transportation Security Officers get to choose which union they wish to act as their voice at work,” Gage said. “It is no secret that the morale of the TSO workforce is terrible as a result of favoritism, a lack of fair and respectful treatment from many managers, poor and unhealthy conditions in some airports, poor training and testing protocols and a poor pay system. The morale problems are documented by the government’s own surveys. TSOs need a recognized union voice at work, and the important decision of the FLRA finally sets the process in motion to make that right a reality.”
In accepting AFGE’s petition, the FLRA remands the petition back to its Chicago Regional office (which originally ruled on the petition) with an order to begin discussions with all parties on the terms of the election (known as an election consent meeting). Based on indications by the FLRA, AFGE expects the election to be conducted electronically. Given all this, AFGE believes the election will be held in early 2011.
For more information and details on every step of AFGE’s FLRA petition, please visit www.tsaunion.com/tsaelection.