(WASHINGTON)—As the only union to represent Transportation Security Administration workers since the agency’s inception, the American Federation of Government Employees is highly disappointed and appalled at a new TSA directive on employee representation.
TSA Management Directive No. 1100.63-3 establishes TSA policy on “employee designation of a representative to assist in the preparation and presentation of grievances …”
“TSA’s policy allows for representation in connection with participation in the EEO process. However, if an employee’s designated representative is also a TSA employee, the directive limits the amount of official time to be granted to the representative to eight hours,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “According to TSA’s policy, ‘any additional time will be charged as annual leave, compensatory time off, or LWOP.’ This policy significantly limits the official time afforded by EEOC’s regulations, which do not limit the amount of official time an employee representative may be granted, except to say that official time must be reasonable.”
According to EEOC guidance, “reasonable is defined as whatever is appropriate, under the particular circumstances of the complaint, in order to allow a complete presentation of the relevant information associated with the complaint and to respond.”
“In FY03, almost 50 percent of the nearly 1,500 EEO complaints filed by DHS employees were by TSA workers. In that year, the average processing time from the date the complaint was filed to closure was 939 days,” Gage said. “With TSA’s absurd restriction of time to eight hours, it unilaterally established a policy that restricts the rights of, and sets up road blocks for employees who wish to pursue their civil rights under law.
“Furthermore,” he added, “with this order, TSA is trying to give the appearance of allowing TSOs workplace rights, which couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, this directive puts more restrictions on TSOs, and only adds insult to injury.
“In hearing from the almost 5,000 TSOs who are AFGE members, in addition to thousands more, it is clear that policies are not a replacement for collective bargaining agreements,” Gage said. “The issues faced at TSA—attrition, injury rates, EEOC complaints—are incomparable compared to other government agencies, at which employees have bargaining agreements. TSA needs to end its policy of public window dressing and admit the need for collective bargaining.”