Washington, D.C., March 17, 2010 – In a meeting with 28 Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill today, American Federation of Government Employees President John Gage urged the senators to push back on the attacks from Republican members of Congress on collective bargaining rights.
“It is an insult to say belonging to a union is a threat to national security,” Gage told members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, including Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Dick Durbin, this morning. Gage was one of 12 union leaders at the meeting. AFGE was the only TSA union invited because its size and affiliation with the AFL-CIO, the largest labor movement in the country.
Gage stressed that Transportation Security Officers in particular need collective bargaining rights and workplace protections now so they can focus on doing their jobs of protecting America and not suffer the discrimination and retaliation that are rampant at TSA, which also constantly ranks at the bottom in any employee satisfaction survey. First responders on 9/11 are union members. Ft. Hood heroes are union members. National security threats are from terrorists, not from union members, he said.
AFGE is strongly supporting H.R. 1881, a bill that would grant TSOs collective bargaining rights and get rid of their controversial pay system. The union last month filed an election petition with the Federal Labor Relations Authority seeking to determine whether TSOs wish to be represented by a union.