(George Frey/Reuters)

The nation’s largest federal-employee union today is scheduled to make history with the Transportation Security Administration by signing the first-ever collective bargaining agreement for the agency’s 45,000 transportation security officers.  

The American Federation of Government Employees and the TSA finished negotiating terms for a contract on Aug. 3, and TSA workers ratified the agreement on Nov. 9 with a vote of 17,326-1,774. The contract took eight months to negotiate. 

The agreement largely deals with consistency and fairness on annual-leave bidding, shift bidding, shift trades and movement between full- and part-time status, as well as uniform allowances. It also allows officers to take certain issues to the Merit Systems Protection Board or a neutral arbitrator.

“AFGE is proud that TSA workers finally have a union contract that will improve their working lives and bring stability to the workforce,” AFGE president J. David Cox said in a statement.

Some GOP lawmakers have shown less enthusiasm for the bargaining agreement. Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who serves as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in a statement earlier this month that the deal would “focus on workplace grievances but ignore security performance improvements.” 

Mica noted the agreement would nearly double TSA uniform allowances to $446 per year, saying the amount would be $46 higher than that of a combat Marine Lieutenant. The cost of the increase in TSA uniform allowance is an estimated $9.63 million annually, he said.

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