Security Approved for Security Workers

By Richard Thayer

My last posting concerned the Republican party’s slash and burn agenda for the budget and how this could adversely impact union membership, which is already at an all time low.

Well, I found some good news for unions on Monday, news that could add as many as 40,000 more members to the rolls.

Joe Davidson, writing in The Washington Post, reports that the Transportation Security Administration has finally approved “limited collective bargaining rights for transportation security officers.”

You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal, they’re limited bargaining rights.”

But in this case even limited is better than no bargaining rights at all.

Make no mistake about it, the approval of even limited bargaining rights would not have been possible under the previous administration. As a matter of fact, according to James Parks at, it was the previous administration that took those collective bargaining rights away from these workers.

Last year, under the present administration, the Federal Labor Relations Authority cleared the way for these security officers to vote for a union. From March 9 to April 19 they will be voting to see which union will represent them at the bargaining table: the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) or the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

According to a statement by AFGE President John Gage, these workers have had to contend with “dangerous workplaces, discrimination, selective hiring practices, nepotism, management intimidation,” and the like. Currently the TSA ranks 220 out of 224 federal agencies on morale (heaven help those below them). These are men and women whose jobs are difficult enough with the responsibility they have for the safety of the American public, but then you add to that their horrendous working conditions, and you wonder how they’ve managed to keep us as safe as they have.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted of the TSA’s approval: “Transportation security officers deserve the same rights as firefighters, police and emergency responders to use collective bargaining in their professions to make everyone safer.”

It’s good to hear positive news about the growth of unions for a change. We look forward to seeing the results of their vote later this year.


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