When TSA was created during the Bush administration, its head was given the authority to decide if agency employees would have the right to bargain. Former administrator Kip Hawley decided against extending bargaining rights.
Many news reports have stated for years that this is about denying workers their right to join a union. That is false. Today, Transportation Security Officers (TSOs), the screeners at the airports, ARE permitted to voluntarily join a union. About 12,000 TSA workers already belong to the American Federation of Government Employees union (AFGE) . They are represented, at their request, by a union representative in grievance procedures and job safety complaints. The TSA will also withhold union dues for an employee, if he so chooses.
The only thing TSOs are not currently permitted to have through their union is a collective bargaining agreement – a written contract that legally binds the TSA to specific wages, hours of work, assigned responsibilities and procedures, and union rules.
Advocating for TSOs to receive collective bargaining rights and workplace protections will be a priority for my administration. It is unacceptable for TSOs to work under unfair rules and without workplace protections – this makes it more difficult for them to perform their jobs. Since 2001, TSA has had the unfettered ability to deny its workforce even the most basic labor rights and protections. Other law enforcement officers – from Border Patrol Agents to Federal Protective Officers to the U.S. Capitol Police—all have collective bargaining rights.
As President, I will make sure that the documented waste and mismanagement at TSA is subject to the same rules regarding contracting as other federal agencies.
Oh. And one last thing: Those TSA workers are also the ones that will be viewing some of your most private “data” at an airport near you.
A TSA worker in Miami was arrested for aggravated battery after police say he attacked a colleague who’d made fun of his small genitalia after he walked through one of the new high-tech security scanners during a recent training session.
Rolando Negrin, 44, was busted for assault after things got ugly at Miami International Airport between Negrin and some of his fellow Transportation Security Administration workers on Tuesday.
Sources say Negrin stepped into the machine during the training session and became embarrassed and angry when a supervisor started cracking jokes about his manhood, made visible by the new machine.
According to the police report, Negron confronted one of his co-workers in an employee parking lot, where he hit him with a police baton on the arm and back.
“[Negron] then told victim to kneel down and say ‘your sorry,'” the report reads. “Victim stated he was in fear and complied with [Negron].”
Negron was arrested the next day when he arrived for work. He told police he had been made fun of by coworkers on a daily basis.
“[Negron] stated he could not take the jokes anymore and lost his mind,” the report reads.
Negrin was arrested and booked into Miami-Dade County Jail. His arrest photo (above) shows him wearing his blue TSA shirt at the time of the arrest.
While this “little” incident raises questions about just how much the full-body scanners actually show, it also raises the question of whether or not having a union contract would benefit a TSA worker like Mr. Negrin.
Would a union use a union contract to hammer the TSA about the head as it fights to keep Rolando’s job (despite the fact that he beat on a colleague)?
It’s clear from the above that Rolando’s defense would be temporary insanity, so it is likely that a union would pursue that as its line of defense.
Moreover, after all the taxpayer dollars that would be wasted on grievance meetings and arbitration costs, what precedence would this set if Rolando were to get his job back?
Would all TSA workers be free to beat on their co-workers if they ‘lost their minds’ over teasing? After all, were one be able to get away with it, and another get fired, the union’s argument would be that the TSA’s actions are “disparate treatment.”
In the end, while this incident in Miami seems rather small, it’s ramifications could be quite large if TSA workers are put under union contract.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.”Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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