Today is the last day for Transportation Security Administration workers to vote on whether they want a union to represent them. Colleague Joe Davidson devotes his Tuesday column to the spirited campaign being waged by the two union presidents vying to represent them.

Colleen M. Kelley represents the National Treasury Employees Union and John Gage represents the American Federation of Government Employees. Both grew up in Pittsburgh, both are former athletes and are now running large federal worker unions. As Joe writes:

Often they are on the same team. As presidents of the two largest federal labor organizations, Kelley . . . and Gage . . . frequently form a united front — against such things as the two-year federal pay freeze and excessive contracting of government work, and for the right of transportation security officers to elect union representation and bargain collectively.

When the officers who screen people and baggage at the nation’s airports won those rights in recent months, it moved the two unions from the preliminaries to the championship. Each organization had been signing up security officers as members for years and pressing for the screeners to have organizing rights like other federal employees.

Keeping reading Joe’s story here.