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If the TSA Unionizes, Will They Be As Keen to Screen?

June 17, 2010 at 1:30 PM | by | Comment (1)

Now that the TSA is doing such a great job keeping us safe, some officers are looking for a little bit of job security. They’re already government employees so we bet they get sweet benefits, but things could get even better for them if they are allowed to unionize.

This is probably a touchy subject due to different opinions on organized labor and hinging on which side of the political fence you call home, but it’s an idea that has been tossed around, so someone is serious. John Pistole is up for a position to head the TSA—tough job, that is—and has apparently been asked to look into the idea of allowing airport screeners to start a union.

Republicans want the TSA nominee to say no way to this idea, as they argue that unionizing could hinder the TSA officers' ability to respond in times of emergency. They have a point there.

We obviously want fair pay for all and all that junk—as well as an awesome amount of paid time off—but we also fear the idea of a security strike. Seriously, could you imagine the TSA walking off the job? We just see too much possibility of further delay and drama if union rules come into the picture.

Related Stories:
· TSA Nominee Faces Questions About Unionizing Airport Screeners [CNN]
· TSA Takes the Next Steps with 'Secure Flight' Rules [Jaunted]
· Airport Security coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: redjar]

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TSA Screeners to Unionize?

First - annual and sick leave accumulation for federal employees is codified in public law, not collective bargaining agreements. Second - many federal employees critical to national security are already unionized, i.e., Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which are ALSO under the Dept of Homeland Security just like TSA. Also, chances are that wherever you are reading this, your state and municipal law enforcement and fire protection jurisdictions' members are card-carrying union members. All of this is done without compromising national security or community safety. Fact: TSA hired MANY managers in the aftermath of 9/11 from outside the federal government and are NOT aware of federal employee protections from abusive practices,i.e., manadatory split shifts, no-notice mandatory overtime, as well as many other abuses and preferential practices of many managers. Fact: MANY mid-level managers are not well-educated on the meaning and implications of TSA's status as an "excepted service". Many mid-level managers are under the mistaken presumption that as an "excepted service", TSA can make any rules it pleases and be as abusive in the treatment of its employees as it cares to be, without repercussion. This is NOT what "excepted service" means. As with other critical personnel, any collective bargaining agreement can be crafted to prohibit strike action and limit or eliminate collective bargaining in wages. Seriously - do you feel safer when abused and demoralized screeners are responsible for detecting weapons, firearms, explosives, and incendiaries in our nation's airports?

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