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Tue, Apr 28, 2009

Union Pushing Congress For Bill To Provide Civil Service Protections At TSA

One Of The Most Criticized Bureaucracies In The US Government Is Looking For "Protection"

According to a release by the union representing a number of TSA staffers, nationwide, TSA workers need special protection. In continuing a push to bring TSA employees under federal civil service protections, the leader of the union representing thousands of TSA Officers (TSOs) sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives urging them to cosponsor a key measure that would provide TSOs with collective bargaining rights for the first time.

H.R. 1881 would formally amend the 2001 law that created TSA to provide TSOs with civil service protections under Title 5, including collective bargaining rights, and would move them onto the General Schedule (GS), putting the brakes on the agency's current failed pay-for-performance personnel system.

"TSA employees labor under a system that has almost completely demoralized them," President Colleen M. Kelley of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) said. "We can strengthen TSA by providing its workers with a pay and performance system that is fair, credible and transparent, and with a voice in the development of workplace quality standards that will make the traveling public even safer."
NTEU's efforts, following today's letter, will begin with the nearly 200 members of the House who have cosponsored previous legislation that included collective bargaining provisions for TSOs.

Eliminating TSA's 'unfair' PASS (Performance and Accountability Standards System) and providing collective bargaining rights by statute would allow TSA employees to have a united workplace voice as well as an avenue to share their thoughts and ideas on ways to develop and improve workplace policies and practices, Kelley said.

President Kelley is reportedly working closely with a number of Democrats, including Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) to craft H.R 1881. Last month, the three lawmakers also sent a letter to their congressional colleagues urging their support for collective bargaining rights at TSA.

Calling the measure "fundamental to improving TSA," Kelley said H.R. 1881 will help ensure that TSA becomes "the best-run airport security agency in the world."

In addition to seeking support for H.R. 1881, NTEU continues to work with the Obama administration to secure collective bargaining rights through executive action. The TSA administrator was given the power to decide whether or not employees should have collective bargaining rights under the law establishing the agency; to date, no TSA administrator has seen fit to allow agency employees to have full collective bargaining rights.

Kelley claims that TSOs are among the few federal employees without federal civil service protections. "Providing them with collective bargaining rights would give TSOs a renewed stake in the success of airport security nationwide and would allow them to partner with management in fulfilling the agency's overall mission." NTEU is the largest independent federal union, representing 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.

FMI: www.tsaunion.org

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