AFGE certified as union for airport screeners

”Davidson”

The Federal Labor Relations Authority has certified the American Federation of Government Employees as the exclusive bargaining agent for 44,000 Transportation Security Officers.

The losing National Treasury Employees Union filed no objections to the 8,903-8,447vote to represent the officers who screen passengers and baggage at the nation’s airports, according to AFGE.

The result of the month-long runoff election period was announced last week.

“We plan to meet with TSA [Transportation Security Administration] management on July 6 as we move to forge a collective bargaining contract that TSA workers so desperately need,” said AFGE President John Gage. “We will be reaching out to TSOs across the country for their input as to what they would like to see in a bargaining agreement. We recognize that TSOs in small airports have different concerns from those at large ones. With one nationwide contract, it is essential that we cover all the bases and we are committed to making sure that the TSA workforce has the tools and support it needs to do its job.”

Had NTEU objected to the election, it could have significantly delayed collective bargaining for the officers. When AFGE lost the 2006 election to represent Customs and Border Protection officers, the union raised objections that took nearly a year to resolve.

“We are very pleased that the FLRA moved swiftly to certify AFGE so that we can immediately move toward contract negotiations,” Gage said.

The security officers are the largest group of federal employees ever unionized, and the union organizing campaign was the largest in the nation at the time. It was an important victory for organized labor during a period when private-sector unions face declining membership and public-sector unions are under attack, particularly at the state and local level.

federaldiary@washpost.com

Follow the Federal Diary on Twitter: @joedavidsonwp

Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.
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