Unions press forward in battle to represent airport screeners

The two federal employee unions hoping to represent Transportation Security Administration workers pushed their campaigns forward Wednesday on Capitol Hill and in the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

As Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, promised last week, NTEU filed a petition with FLRA for an agencywide election. The rival American Federation of Government Employees submitted a similar request in February. FLRA will review the signatures on both petitions and decide whether it has jurisdiction to order an election at TSA. In a 2003 decision, the independent agency said it did not have that authority.

"I am confident that when [transportation security officers] examine the records, performance and expertise of the unions competing in such an election, NTEU will prevail," Kelley said in a statement. "No other union can match our record of success for federal employees."

NTEU in 2006 won a similar election to become the exclusive bargaining representative for employees at the Homeland Security Department's Customs and Border Protection Bureau, and the union has argued that its experience with law enforcement officers and homeland security issues makes it uniquely qualified to represent TSA employees.

In contrast, AFGE contends that its size and membership in the AFL-CIO give it the influence and resources to fight effectively on behalf of TSA employees. With 600,000 members, AFGE is the largest federal employee union.

On Wednesday, AFGE and a number of other unions, though not NTEU, met with 28 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus, an opportunity Gage used to press for passage of legislation (H.R. 1881) that would provide TSA employees with the permanent right to bargain collectively. Currently, the TSA administrator has the power to decide whether or not those employees can bargain over workplace issues. The Obama administration has not yet reversed the George W. Bush administration's decision to deny TSA collective bargaining rights.

Earlier in the campaign to organize TSA, AFGE favored holding an election to determine which union would be the agency's exclusive representative before a decision was made about collective bargaining rights, while NTEU said securing bargaining rights should be the priority. Both unions have organized chapters at airports nationwide.

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.