Transportation Security Administration employees are one step closer to long-awaited union representation.
The Federal Labor Relations Authority on Wednesday confirmed that TSA's union election will begin March 9 and end April 19, the same timeframe tentatively scheduled in January. Employees will be able to vote online and via phone. The American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union have been vying for exclusive representation of 40,000 TSA workers, including transportation security officers, behavior detection officers, security training instructors and equipment maintenance technicians.
The announcement comes in the midst of a controversy over newly-granted collective bargaining rights for TSA employees. TSA Administrator John Pistole on Feb. 4 determined that workers will be allowed limited bargaining privileges over issues that do not interfere with national security. Though union leaders praised the decision, several Republican lawmakers have pushed to grant TSA employees other workplace rights not including collective bargaining.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Pistole, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, requested information about the collective bargaining decision. Granting those privileges may force TSA to seek union approval before making critical security decisions, they wrote.
TSA has been asked to deliver all documents and communications exchanged with NTEU and AFGE that deal with employment conditions, as well as any documents referring to airport security that were evaluated in the decision to grant collective bargaining rights to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by Feb. 23.