Union strengthens bid to recruit airport screeners

The American Federation of Government Employees is intensifying its campaign to unionize tens of thousands of airport security workers.

The nation's largest federal workers union Monday will officially announce the formation of a new local chapter specifically for passenger and baggage screeners. Instead of creating locals at each airport though, the new AFGE unit will be national and based in Washington. AFGE President Bobby Harnage will act as interim head.

"There are serious problems facing these workers," said AFGE spokeswoman Diane Witiak. "There are constant shift changes without notice. People don't know what hours they are going to work one day to the next."

AFGE has been embroiled in a unionization fight with the Transportation Security Administration for several months. Since last November, the union has filed seven petitions with the Federal Labor Relations Authority to represent TSA employees at a number of airports including Baltimore-Washington International, New York's LaGuardia, Pittsburgh International, Chicago Midway, those in Greensboro, N.C., Port Columbus, Ohio, and three smaller airports in southern Texas-Brownsville, McAllen and Harlingen.

TSA officials did not return phone calls about this story.

In January, TSA Administrator James Loy issued an order prohibiting federal baggage and passenger screeners from unionizing. "Collective bargaining is not compatible with the flexibility required to wage the war against terrorism," he said.

AFGE has filed suit challenging Loy's position. Whether or not the union wins the right to negotiate a labor contract for screeners, Witiak said federal employees have a constitutional right to form a union.

"We can go to court for them. We can represent them at EEO [Equal Employment Opportunity] hearings. We can go to Capitol Hill. We can raise these issues with the public," she said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.