(WASHINGTON) - In his first formal meeting with union leadership, TSA Administrator John Pistole met today with American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage to discuss collective bargaining and other workplace issues including PASS.
"On behalf of our more than 12,000 dues-paying members, the entire 40,000 Transportation Security Officers, 262,000 AFGE members, and 13 million AFL-CIO union members, I was very pleased to sit down with Administrator Pistole and share with him the role that collective bargaining plays in stabilizing the federal workplace," President Gage said. "AFGE's long history of representing federal employees in a variety of agencies and law enforcement jobs is unprecedented. I truly hope that our meeting has helped the administrator recognize how much value is added to workplace efficiency and stability when the employees have true input into the process."
President Gage emphasized the need for due process as it is the foundation for stability that allows employees to do their jobs. He also stressed the urgent need for collective bargaining rights for the entire TSA workforce. As he promised the Senate in his confirmation hearings, Pistole is conducting an impact assessment of how bargaining rights would impact the agency's ability to perform its mission.
"I encouraged Pistole to look closely at the other areas in the government - Bureau of Prisons, DOD police and firefighters and Border Patrol Officers - where collective bargaining has been in place for decades," President Gage said. "There is simply no evidence to support the notion that collective bargaining has a negative impact on national security. When the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked, it was unionized firefighters and police officers who rushed into harm's way to rescue as many people as they could. These brave public servants did not pause or hesitate. They did not consult their union contract. They did not give the first thought to their own health or safety. They did their jobs and they did so with pride and professionalism. As the union of choice for TSOs across the country, AFGE looks forward to many more productive meetings with Administrator Pistole."
AFGE has represented the TSA workforce since the agency was created in 2001. The union currently has more than 12,000 dues-paying TSA members in 38 union Locals nationwide. AFGE is the only AFL-CIO affiliated union that represents TSOs.