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Posted at 5:00 PM ET, 01/21/2011

TSA union vote tentatively set for March/April

By Joe Davidson
Washington Post staff

Transportation Security officers will have to wait a little longer to find out when they will vote on which union to represent them, though a tentative date has been set.

Representatives of the Transportation Security Administration, American Federation of Government Employees, National Treasury Employees Union and the Federal Labor Relations Authority met Friday to discuss details of the election, which would allow the officers to choose between the two unions.

They made significant progress, union officials said, but did not reach agreement on everything.

Treasury union president Colleen M. Kelley said that two issues remain. The representatives have agreed on which employees are eligible to vote, she said, but have not finalized a legal description of the "bargaining unit." They're also still negotiating over the language to be used in the election notice to employees.

The balloting is tentatively scheduled for March 9 through April 19, with the Labor Relations Authority counting the votes on April 20, according to the Treasury union. Voting will be conducted online and through a toll-free phone number.

An official with the government employees federation blamed the delay on TSA.

"The agency is holding up finalizing the election terms because it seeks a bargaining unit description that departs from the norm," said Cathie McQuiston, deputy director of AFGE membership and organization. "There is no dispute over the bargaining unit positions, just the language used to describe the unit."

Contact Joe via e-mail at federaldiary@washpost.com.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Joe Davidson  | January 21, 2011; 5:00 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, unions  
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Next: Federal worker union membership drops

Comments

That's just what the American taxpayer needs is for the TSA to be unionized. For those of us who travel frequently, we couldn't imagine things getting worse with air travel, but then we were wrong.

Every politician who supports the current practices, who are remaining silient on the TSA issues, and those politicians who remain in office that designed and instituted the current TSA practices need to be identified and voted out of office with no exceptions. I believe there are enough votes with average American business travelers to do just that...

Posted by: FrequentTravler | January 21, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

it's about time they are allowed to exercise their right to join a union after all bush and is republican conress barred them from unionizing when it was originally formed.

Posted by: RalphE2 | January 24, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Re RalphE2: The only reason the TSA exists and these people have federal jobs is because President Bush formed DHS after 9/11 and federalized this function.

Posted by: jrhms88 | January 24, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

To FrequentTraveler: For TSA employees, collective bargaining is not necessarily about money. Much higher on the list of reasons for collective bargaining are common workplace issues like fairness in disciplinary issues, reasonable leave policies, whistle blower protection, reasonable uniform allowances, and many others. These, and many other issues, are things any American employee would want, and deserves, especially when the employer is the government.

Posted by: jeffryh | January 26, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Thank You jrhms88! TSA is the only unit in DHS that is NOT allowed collective bargaining. And, coincidentally (or not), TSA ranks at, or near, the bottom of the list of the best federal agencies to work for. TSA employees want collective bargaining in order to make TSA a better place to work. Happier, better trained, professional employees will make for a better experience for the traveling public.

Posted by: jeffryh | January 26, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

The TSA should be accountable to only American taxpayers that fund their salaries. Heaven help American business travelers when the union can influence already dismal behaviours and sour attitudes with TSA employees.

What industry has prospered when employees have unionized? That's right - the answer is none.

Unions love low-skilled uneducated people who complain about the sun coming up in the East every morning. If my supposition is true, the TSA is ripe for unionization.

Posted by: FrequentTravler | January 26, 2011 8:43 PM | Report abuse

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