(WASHINGTON) - The American Federation of Government Employees today thanked the 130 cosponsors of H.R. 1881, which would grant Transportation Security Officers the same workplace protections as other federal workers, for their support and expressed its hopes for a swift markup on July 9.
H.R. 1881, the Transportation Security Workforce Enhancement Act, would give TSOs the right to bargain collectively for fair and uniform workplace rules. It would do away with TSA's highly subjective pay system, the Performance Accountability and Standards System (PASS), and would move TSOs under the General Schedule system, which covers most federal employees.
“PASS and many other TSA labor and employee relations practices that ignore federal worker rights need to go,” said AFGE National President John Gage. “It is essential that TSOs are afforded the same rights to negotiate over important workplace issues, due process, whistleblower protections, veterans' preference, appropriate salaries, fair pay increases, and leave policies as other federal workers—including other Department of Homeland Security employees—such as those working for the Border Patrol, FEMA, and Coast Guard—all of whom are represented by AFGE.”
AFGE, with strong backing from the powerful AFL-CIO, repeatedly has urged Congress to support legislation that grants TSOs the same collective bargaining rights and workforce protections as other federal workers. In 2007, similar language granting collective bargaining was deleted from the 9/11 bill on threat of veto by then-President Bush. Since that time, AFGE membership at TSA has more than doubled as TSOs became more committed to the fight to win their long-withheld workplace rights.
AFGE thanks Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee Chair Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas for introducing the bill in April, and the 130 cosponsors who have shown their support for TSOs.
“AFGE is the only union that can truthfully and proudly say that it has been fighting for collective bargaining for the entire eight years TSA has been in existence,” Gage said. “This is a battle not just for bargaining rights, but for the respect and dignity long overdue to TSOs.”
AFGE has represented the TSA workforce since the agency was created in 2001. The union currently has approximately 11,000 dues-paying TSA members in 32 Locals nationwide.