October 29, 2009
Emily Ryan
(202) 639-6421

Pressure by TSA Union Leads to Suspension of Illegal Leave Policy at DFW Airport

(WASHINGTON)—After intense pressure by the American Federation of Government Employees, Transportation Security Administration management at Dallas/Fort Worth airport suspended a controversial leave policy that penalized Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) for taking justified, unscheduled leave.

In July, AFGE Attorney Chad Harris sent a letter to DFW Federal Security Director Cedric Alexander asking for rescission of DFW’s Attendance Control Program (ACP), stating that it was “seriously flawed and demoralizes workers” as employees would receive a letter of counseling after taking three unscheduled leaves in a three-month period, regardless of circumstances (flu, sick child, death of family member, etc) or approval of their immediate supervisors.

On Oct. 23, FSD Alexander issued a memo stating that he was suspending the ACP. Members of AFGE Local 1040, which represents TSOs in Dallas, applauded the decision.

“Although the intention of the ACP may have been the creation of a system that allows for a more consistent application of TSA attendance policy, it has resulted in the increase of needless adverse actions against good employees,” AFGE Staff Counsel Chad Harris said. “Everyone needs to occasionally take unscheduled leave, but the ACP would automatically issue letters of counseling or letters of reprimand without an analysis of the particular circumstances that necessitated the unscheduled leave use.”

“AFGE is encouraged that FSD Alexander was willing to take closer look at the impact of the ACP on the TSA workforce,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “With collective bargaining on the horizon, there will be an opportunity to develop one written leave policy so that there is uniformity at all of the airports. What we saw at DFW was each terminal manager enforcing the leave and attendance rules differently.

“While we are glad that FSD Alexander took action to remedy the ACP situation, there still is the unresolved matter of TSOs who were unfairly impacted by this inflexible leave policy,” Gage said. “That being the case, AFGE is in the process of exploring a group grievance on behalf of those TSOs.”

Any TSOs who were wrongly affected by the ACP should contact AFGE at 1-866-392-6832.

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