washingtonpost.com
44: Senate defeats measure that would have blocked TSA workers from unionizing

By Felicia Sonmez
Tuesday, February 15, 2011; 5:27 PM

The Senate on Tuesday rejected an amendment that would have prevented Transportation Security Adminstration employees from unionizing, handing a victory to Democrats and labor groups.

The amendment, which had been sponsored by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and was attached to a Federal Aviation Authority funding bill, was defeated on a straight party-line vote, with all 47 Republicans voting in favor and all 51 Democrats present voting against the measure. Two Democrats, Sens. John Kerry (Mass.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), did not vote.

The measure would have excluded more than 40,000 TSA workers from collective bargaining. Wicker and other supporters of the amendment had argued that allowing TSA employees to unionize could endanger national security by forcing the agency to negotiate with unions before being allowed to move screeners or change its methods.

Opponents of the amendment criticized it as "irresponsible" and urged that granting workers collective bargaining rights would improve their morale and, in turn, national security.

Last November, the Federal Labor Relations Authority announced that TSA personnel would be allowed to vote on whether to have union representation. Those votes are scheduled to take place this spring, from March 9 to April 19.

Earlier this month, TSA administrator John Pistole decided to allow limited collective bargaining rights for transportation security officers on issues not related to national security.

Post a Comment


Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

© 2011 The Washington Post Company