(WASHINGTON)—The American Federation of Government Employees today urged senators to vote against an amendment to the FAA Authorization bill sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), named the Termination of Collective Bargaining for Transportation Security Administration Employees Act, which would prevent more than 40,000 Transportation Security Officers from being granted basic workplace protections and strip those rights from more than 10,000 other TSA employees who currently have them.
AFGE National President John Gage today issued the following statement:
The Wicker amendment does not strengthen homeland security, as he would have you believe. There is no evidence that collective bargaining rights have any negative impact on national security, nor that these rights undermine the ability of TSA or any other Department of Homeland Security employees to perform their duties.
Collective bargaining is in fact a benefit for national security because it empowers workers to voice opinions and make suggestions without fear of retribution. Through fair and consistent working conditions negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement, the workforce becomes more stable and has lower turnover—currently a huge issue at TSA. Furthermore, private passenger and baggage screeners at San Francisco Airport performing the same duties as TSOs have had the right to bargain collectively for years, and have done so with promise.
TSOs work side-by-side with hundreds of thousands of their DHS colleagues in the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Federal Protective Service, Coast Guard and FEMA who have collective bargaining rights. It is an affront to the professionalism and integrity of TSA employees to insinuate that they would not do their jobs to the best of their ability because of a bargaining agreement. Further, the assertion that a collective bargaining agreement would mean that unionized workers could not be disciplined is untrue—federal law governs the agency’s authority to hire, direct, layoff, suspend, remove, and assign work. Additionally, the law bans federal employees from striking.
This country’s TSOs are unequivocally dedicated to protecting each and every American, just like the unionized police and firefighters who valiantly ran into the burning buildings on 9/11. It is an absolute insult to say that with a collective bargaining agreement, TSOs couldn’t fulfill the mission of TSA, of DHS and of the United States of America.
AFGE encourages every senator to vote “no” to this anti-union, anti-worker amendment.