(WASHINGTON)—The Acting Regional Director of the FLRA’s Washington Region today issued his ruling on the representation petition filed by AFGE in its bid to formally represent some 40,000 Transportation Security nationwide.
In dismissing the AFGE petition, Acting RD Peter Sutton cited the 2003 Decision of the full Authority, which held that the agency has no jurisdiction over which to process the petition. This is an expected turn of events in that the union is now free to appeal the RD’s ruling to the full FLRA—one that is expected to take a fresh look at the issue of union representation at TSA.
“A lot has happened in the seven years since we first took this matter to the FLRA,” said Cathie McQuiston, deputy director of Membership and Organization for AFGE. McQuiston is the AFGE representative of record in these proceedings, and a well-respected practitioner of federal sector labor law.
“We know that TSA has allowed union representation at its privatized airports, and that the NLRB has already established its jurisdiction to process petitions affecting TSOs which come before it. We are only asking that TSA management treat all TSOs with an even hand and permit the holding of an election for federalized screeners under the FLRA’s process,” McQuiston said.
Under the FLRA rules, AFGE has 60 days to file its appeal, and the FLRA will have 60 days to issue a response.
“AFGE intends to file an appeal as soon as possible, and we expect the FLRA will, in turn, make a swift decision in our favor,” McQuiston said.
In the meantime, it is expected that the recent nomination by the White House of John Pistole to head the Transportation Security Administration could also signal the dawn of a new era of stability at the troubled agency.
“AFGE is anxious for a qualified appointee to be confirmed,” said AFGE Membership and Organization Director Sharon Pinnock. “Pistole appears to have a deep commitment to public service and sees the value in a federalized workforce. From what we have learned of his background, he seems to have extensive experience developing relationships between domestic law enforcement and intelligence agencies. This bodes well for his chances to be quickly confirmed.”