(WASHINGTON) - As the only union representing the Transportation Security Administration, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) urges Congress to grant Transportation Security Administration officers (TSOs) collective bargaining and appeal rights. Since TSA’s inception, AFGE has lobbied Congress on this issue.
The House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the 9/11 Commission Bill, which includes repeal of a footnote of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), which called for all TSA employees to have the same basic labor protections of other federal workers. However, a footnote in the ATSA allowed for the TSA Administrator to "employ, appoint, discipline, terminate... [and] establish levels of compensation and other benefits" for TSOs.
“By repealing the ATSA footnote, Congress has ensured that TSA will no longer be allowed to deny its workers basic labor rights," AFGE National President John Gage said. "TSA has subjected its employees to discrimination, retaliation, adverse actions, mandatory overtime, and fear of coming forth to report problems. It’s time to put an end to TSA’s bullying."
“TSA has the highest injury and attrition rates in the federal government," Gage added. "The new legislation will help improve security by stabilizing the workforce and improving morale."
Although TSOs are deprived of a collective bargaining agreement, AFGE represents these employees before the Disciplinary Review Board, EEOC, courts, in Congress and in the media. AFGE National President John Gage said.
“AFGE is proud to be the TSA union," Gage said. "We have fought on behalf of the TSOs since the agency’s inception and won’t stop now."
AFGE recently took TSA to the International Labor Organization, which ruled that the agency violated the rights of TSOs by denying them the right to organize and bargain collectively. AFGE now calls for Congress to restore to TSOs the full scope of collective bargaining.
“Now is the time for change," Gage said. "These employees deserve the right to work without consequence. They deserve to be treated the same as other DHS employees. They deserve equality. And it’s up to Congress to give it to them."