(WASHINGTON) – In a move that speaks directly to their dissatisfaction with the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport have nullified their membership with NTEU in favor of joining the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), AFL-CIO—the nation’s largest federal employee union. Calling for their co-workers to make the switch, the former officers of the NTEU Chapter have already re-signed over a hundred Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) to membership in AFGE Local 2222. The latest (and largest) of eight TSA Locals AFGE has chartered within the last month, Local 2222 will add its strength to the thousands of AFGE-TSA members nationwide calling for fair pay, adequate training and dignity on the job.
"We have been thinking about making the switch for several months," said Bob Marchetta, the appointed treasurer for Local 2222. "Our members need a union that will help us battle TSA management at the jobsite, as well as in the courts. AFGE has a proven track record of support and service that covers all 45,000 TSA employees, not just a handful at a few selected and scattered airports."
AFGE has established itself as The Union for TSA employees through its aggressive campaign to secure and protect the workplace rights of TSOs since the agency was created more than 6 years ago. Working tirelessly with the AFL-CIO, and other transportation safety advocates, AFGE has taken on TSA in the courts, at countless Congressional Hearings, before the International Labor Organization (ILO) and with the Agency's own Disciplinary Review Board (DRB) over issues which include, but are not limited to: collective bargaining rights, discriminatory hiring and promotion practices, performance-based pay and sub-standard health and safety policies.
In conjunction with members of Congress, AFGE has introduced ground breaking legislation which has garnered bipartisan support. AFGE is fighting to retain provisions in the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2007—recently passed by the House—that would shield TSOs from retaliation while promoting a responsible and safe workplace with ethical practices and for the first time provide the same enforceable protections against discrimination based on age, race, sex, religion, and national origin, and protection against violation of the Rehabilitation Act that apply to other federal workers. Legislation such as the Lowey Bill, H.R. 3212, which AFGE is working diligently with lawmakers to get passed, would give TSOs collective bargaining rights and help to bolster morale within an agency that was ranked dead last in a 2006 employee satisfaction survey.
"AFGE has proven that it is in this fight for as long as it takes," said Hydrick Thomas, who was an officer in the NTEU Chapter, but will now serve as President for the new AFGE Local. "We want to be with the union that will go the distance, and from all we have seen, that union is AFGE."