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TSO Unionization Campaigns Go Online

By Ed O'Keefe

Both the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union have taken their campaigns to unionize Transportation Security Officers online, in an effort to win the right to organize the last big group of government employees without collective bargaining rights.

As The Eye has reported before
, it's expected that AFGE and NTEU will compete to represent the people who protect American airports if they ever win collective bargaining rights. Granting such rights would reverse a Bush administration decision made when the Department of Homeland Security was established in 2002.

Even though TSOs do not have collective bargaining rights, both AFGE and NTEU have signed up dues-paying employees at the local level and have chartered chapters (for NTEU) or locals (for AFGE), who then appoint and train officers to staff their local efforts and represent individual employees during work-related disputes with TSA.

Taking their efforts a step further, both unions now have YouTube videos describing their efforts. NTEU posted a short video, fronted by president Colleen M. Kelley, earlier this week:

And just today, AFGE posted a video describing what it's doing to represent TSOs:

In his previous role as the lead blogger of Channel '08, The Eye reported on and critiqued the online video efforts of presidential campaigns and other independent political groups. In this case, AFGE scores extra points for its production techniques and for keeping it short, but both unions win for spreading the word online with well-produced, easy-to-use videos. (If only the employers of their union members would catch on...)

What do you think of the videos? And who should win the right to organize TSOs? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 27, 2009; 4:49 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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I've been working as a TSO at one of Chicago's airports since the inceptioin of TSA. The agenda proposed by the NTEU represents a good starting point. The airport federal security directors treat their airports as their own personal fiefdoms and no meaningful dialog exists between management and employees. President Obama has extended a hand of friendship to the unions and Vice President Biden remarked to a room full of union representatives,"Welcome back to the White House." Respect is a two way street and the new leadership at Homeland Security may be the breath of fresh air we've been hoping for. The work we do is important and we need to feel the same way.

Posted by: johnsus | March 2, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

With or without collectively bargaining rights, AFGE has made a commitment to our Nation’s Uniformed Officers of TSA and we are making good on that commitment every day. AFGE recognizes the need for Transportation Security Officers to be represented not only in the workplace but also in Congress and AFGE has the resources, expertise and clout needed to provide effective representation for all uniformed officers from the smallest airport to the largest. AFGE has been there from the beginning. I invite you to join us!

Posted by: PKchopper | March 3, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

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