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AFGE union files to become rep for TSA workers

By Ed O'Keefe

Updated 2:27 p.m. ET

By The Post's Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson:

Taking the battle over airport security officers to the next level, the American Federation of Government Employees announced Monday that it is filing a petition seeking an election to represent the workers.

The petition to the Federal Labor Relations Authority is an escalation in the long battle over collective bargaining rights for transportation security officers who screen luggage at the nation's airports.

Both AFGE and the National Treasury Employees Union have signed up TSOs as members in preparation for an eventual election. Though TSOs are union members, they do not have collective bargaining rights. Until now, the labor organizations have worked to get those rights administratively and legislatively, before seeking an election.

But the recent withdrawal of Erroll Southers as President Obama's nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration was a setback for the unions.

"By settling the question of representation first, AFGE will be ready to begin negotiations as soon as the bargaining rights are established," said John Gage, AFGE president.

NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley responded to the AFGE announcement by saying her union would win any election. But she added that “It would be a far better scenario for employees if the administration would grant them collective bargaining rights. It is unclear what an exclusive representative would mean under this structure.”

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 22, 2010; 12:43 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Just what we need to blow the budget totally to hell. Let's see: the union contract will provide for retirement after 20 years, at highest rate of pay (including the "gaming" of overtime and past vacation not taken), plus full Cadillac Health Care. Each $50K/yr employee will wind up costing the taxpayer at least $2 million. Do the arithmatic folks; it's not rocket science

Posted by: apberusdisvet | February 22, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree that it will end up costing taxpayers more than we can afford. I am against unionization of taxpayer funded jobs in the first place. It never ends well for the beleagured taxpayer. Beyond that, it is insane to allow unionization of any function as critical as security. A pox on them for trying.

Posted by: Lilycat1 | February 23, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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