Union says contract with TSA is near

The union representing about 45,000 transportation security officers (TSO) says it is on the verge of finalizing a contract with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

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“Following marathon negotiations, AFGE and TSA are close to a historic labor contract,” John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said Sunday. “We have partial agreement, but we ran out of time at about 3 a.m. Saturday before we could complete the entire agreement. Both parties remain committed to reaching an agreement and will go forward from here to bring the negotiations process to a successful conclusion.”

This would be the first labor agreement for the officers who screen passengers and baggage at the nation’s airports. They choose AFGE as their bargaining agent 13 months ago, after more than a decade of pushing for collective bargaining rights.

The length of time it has taken to reach agreement led to frustration in the union and among Democrats in Congress. “I’m quite sure the workers are frustrated . . . and a little anxious,” Bill Lyons, AFGE’s first TSO organizer and acting director of the union’s membership and organization department, said in June.

In late May, Democratic Reps. Nita M. Lowey (N.Y.) and Bennie Thompson (Miss.) sent letters to Gage and TSA Administrator John S. Pistole urging them to reach an agreement quickly.

The lawmakers told Gage and Pistole that “now is the time . . . to show leadership.”

federaldiary@washpost.com

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP

Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson.

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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