Senate upholds TSA bargaining rights

Senate lawmakers on Tuesday voted against legislation that would prevent transportation security officers from receiving recently granted collective bargaining rights.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., on Feb. 2 introduced the Termination of Collective Bargaining for Transportation Security Administration Employees Act, an amendment to Federal Aviation Administration authorization legislation that would prevent more than 40,000 TSA workers from being granted collective bargaining rights. The amendment also would strip those rights from more than 10,000 additional TSA employees who currently have them.

Other lawmakers, including Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., co-signed the legislation just days after TSA Administrator John Pistole granted airport screeners limited collective bargaining rights.

According to Pistole's Feb. 4 memo, employees will be able to negotiate performance management processes, awards and attendance management guidelines, along with shift bids. They will not be able to bargain over security policies, procedures, or the deployment of security personnel and equipment; pay, pensions and compensation; proficiency testing; job qualifications; and discipline standards. Talks will occur only at the national level.

Created in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, TSA was excluded from federal regulations giving workers bargaining privileges. Agency leaders have the authority to grant those rights but until now, chose not to act.

"Workplace rights improve employee morale, which will improve security, not undermine it," said American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage. "A bargaining agreement would lead to better working conditions, fair promotion and evaluation practices and safer workplaces, and in doing so, increase morale."

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley called the amendment ill-advised and applauded lawmakers for defeating it.

"Collective bargaining helps to develop fair, credible and transparent processes without interfering with management rights to accomplish agency missions," Kelley wrote in letters sent to lawmakers last week. "We can strengthen TSA by providing its workers with such processes, and with a voice in the development of workplace quality standards that will make the traveling public even safer."

NTEU and AFGE are vying for exclusive representation of TSOs. An election is tentatively set to begin March 9.

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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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