WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, the House passed legislation that would grant Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) equal workplace rights. The House infrastructure bill included language from the “Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act” – which passed the House earlier this year – that extends full collective bargaining rights to TSOs and ensures the nation’s airport security officers have the same workplace protections as other federal workers.
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the AFGE TSA Council 100 – which represents more than 45,000 TSA officers nationwide – have been fighting for fair pay, workplace rights and protections for TSOs since the agency’s creation in response to 9/11.
“This is a huge win for these hardworking front-line employees who have continued to risk their lives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic ensuring we safely reach our travel destinations,” said AFGE National President Everett Kelley. “It is time for the Senate and the President to make these essential employees whole by providing the equal workplace rights and protections they deserve.”
TSA officers are among the lowest paid federal workers and are not on the same pay scale as their Department of Homeland Security counterparts. If enacted, this legislation would increase salaries by putting TSOs on the General Schedule pay scale among most federal employees.
“For nearly two decades TSA officers have been treated like the stepchild of the federal government. We risk our lives daily on the frontlines, upholding our oath to protect American travelers, airline and airport personnel and many others,” said AFGE TSA Council 100 President Hydrick Thomas.“Nearly 900 officers have contracted COVID-19 with five of them unfortunately dying. We need real change.It is time for the Administration, the Department and Congress to do their jobs and protect us.”
AFGE is calling on the Senate to include full workplace rights for TSA officers in its transportation infrastructure bill.