Legislative Alert

Letter Supporting Legislation That Provides TSA Officers With Collective Bargaining Rights

Dear Representative:

The AFL-CIO urges you to support the “Rights for the Transportation Security Administration Workforce Act,” H.R. 903, when it comes to the House floor this week.

The Rights for the TSA Workforce Act will provide TSA officers with the same statutory rights to union representation, due process and fair pay under title 5 of the US code as most other federal workers, including uniformed officers at other Department of Homeland Security agencies. The base pay of TSA officers stalled for a number of years while the base pay of other TSA employees increased, and TSA’s pay system lacks both longevity pay or step increases. Also, unlike other federal agencies, the TSA Administrator – not Congress – determines which workplace issues will be included in collective bargaining and the pay system and benefits for the TSA workforce. As a model employer, the federal government should provide these rights to all of its employees.

The TSA was created in the aftermath of 9/11 to oversee our nation’s security needs in all modes of transportation, and its workforce has shown an unwavering commitment to public safety. Throughout the pandemic TSA officers have remained on the job, staffing airport checkpoints and screening baggage at the risk of their own health and that of their families. In  2021, TSA officers seized a record number of weapons from carry-on luggage despite a dramatic drop in the number of passengers. Over the past decade, they worked without pay during three government shutdowns, including a 35 day shutdown between 2018-2019. TSA officer morale is among the lowest in the federal government. There can be no doubt that these workers deserve to have the same rights as all other federal employees.

Aviation security, of concern to all Americans, should be a bipartisan issue, and that includes ensuring the rights to fair representation, pay and benefits in statute for TSA officers. Again, we urge you to support H.R. 903, the “Rights for the TSA Workforce Act”.

William Samuel
Director, Government Affairs