NTEU to represent 1,400 federal airport screeners

The National Treasury Employees Union on Tuesday announced that it would establish a chapter to represent more than 1,400 Transportation Security Administration employees at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Union officials billed the move as the first step toward full collective bargaining with TSA, which Democratic lawmakers have championed since gaining control of Congress. Earlier this month, the Senate passed a bill that would give federal airport screeners those rights, setting up a potential veto showdown with the White House.

The American Federation of Government Employees has organized and represented TSA employees since the agency's inception five years ago. NTEU President Colleen Kelley said Tuesday that, despite the union's current limitations in bargaining with TSA, it plans to establish the same partnerships with agency employees in Atlanta, Denver and Chicago, and with employees at other New York-area airports, including LaGuardia International Airport in Queens and Newark International Airport in New Jersey.

"There are a lot of issues that are not being addressed by TSA," Kelley said during a conference call with reporters. "TSA employees need serious, effective and determined representation."

Kelley criticized TSA's pay-for-performance system. She said the system has resulted in just 2 percent of employees receiving "outstanding" ratings, with another 20 percent rated "above expectations." The performance evaluation method should be "fair, credible and transparent," she said.

TSA spokeswoman Amy Kudwa congratulated NTEU on what she called its "membership drive" and declined to comment on Kelley's criticism of the agency's performance evaluation plan.

AFGE issued a statement during NTEU's conference call, describing the rival union's effort to pick up TSA workers as "pitiful" and "amusing."

"For the past five years, AFGE has been the only union to stand behind" TSA's transportation security officers, said John Gage, AFGE's president. "They have been nowhere in sight for five years of workplace abuse. Now that Congress is moving forward on AFGE's bill to allow TSOs collective bargaining rights, NTEU has decided to take an interest in TSOs."

Kelley also called on the agency to do more to reduce injury rates among baggage handlers.

"When you look at time off the job and workers' compensation [claims], those [numbers] are very high," she said. TSA should provide additional training and equipment to employees, she added.

Kudwa said TSA's injury rates, which were nearly 29 percent during fiscal 2005, already have subsided significantly. They fell to 16 percent the following fiscal year, she said.

"We've had significant improvements in that area," she said.

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

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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