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The American Federation Of Government Employees Backs Bill To Boost Transportation Security Administration Worker Labor Protections Granted To Other Federal Workers

Published Friday, February 12, 2016

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Employees, is "enthusiastically" backing a bill from House Democrats to provide them with Labor Protections that are currently granted to other Federal Workers. 

U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson (Democrat-Mississippi) and Nita Lowey (Democrat-New York) have introduced legislation that would grant TSA Workers, who are already Unionized, rights that include "Collective Bargaining, Whistleblower Protections and protections against Discrimination based on age or handicap." 

The AFGE, which has represented TSA Workers since 2011, said the measure to boost the Labor Protections of the Airport Security Employees is long overdue

“Morale for TSA Officers is at an ‘all-time low,’” AFGE TSA Council President Hydrick Thomas said. “We work ‘very hard under some of the most stressful and dangerous conditions,’ but are ‘treated like second-class employees’ as compared to the rest of the Federal Workforce.  We just want ‘equal’ treatment.”

AFGE National President David Cox said: “(Transportation Security Officers) do a ‘great job’ ensuring air travelers reach their destinations safely, stopping more than two-thousand firearms from getting on planes last year alone.  They ‘deserve’ to be treated like ‘every other’ Federal Employee and this proposal is a ‘major step in the right direction.’”  

Backers of the measure said TSA rules do not allow Airport Security Agents to have the same rights as most Unionized Employees do, such as having their pay decided by the federal government's General Service Wage Scale or the ability to appeal issues to third-parties, such as the Merit Systems Protection Board.

“Unfortunately, TSA’s personnel system to attract, retain and develop a strong workforce has ‘fallen short,’" said Thompson, the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee.  "We introduced the ‘Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act of 2016’ because we believe that the ‘time has come’ for TSA’s personnel and Labor Management Systems to be ‘brought in line’ with the rest of the federal government under Title Five.  Implementing ‘basic’ Worker Protections for this ‘critical’ Workforce has been a ‘lengthy fight’ and it’s time for Congress to ‘come together’ and enact legislation that will grant these frontline Security Workers the rights and benefits ‘they deserve.’  We believe these changes will ‘increase’ security and will lead to an ‘improved’ Workforce with ‘better morale.’”

The Government Employees' Union said the measure would "put TSOs on the General Schedule pay scale and provide them with ‘much needed’ Worker Protections like the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act."  "Being recognized as ‘equal counterparts’ to their fellow Federal Employees would ‘greatly improve’ Workplace Conditions and ‘lift’ sagging morale," AFGE Officials said.  

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