Washington, D.C. — The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) today announced the chartering of a new chapter for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and also introduced an aggressive, five-point representation plan for TSA employees nationwide.
“NTEU Chapter 310 (TSA Atlanta) will speak for about 800 TSA employees at one of the nation’s busiest airports,” said NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley. “TSA employees are charged with the safety of the traveling public, an important and stressful job, but receive almost no support from agency management. NTEU will give these frontline employees the serious, effective and determined representation that they deserve.”
This is the union’s second TSA chapter. In March, NTEU chartered its first TSA chapter at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York.
In both cities, NTEU is positioned with local staff attorneys to represent TSA employees on critical workplace issues, including promotions, disciplinary actions, shift bidding, overtime, performance appraisals, leave issues and work schedules and hours, as well as alternative work schedules.
In addition, NTEU’s comprehensive national representation plan—five concrete goals the union will work toward to ensure the equity, security and stability of the TSA workforce—calls for:
o The elimination of TSA’s unfair PASS (Performance and Accountability Standards System) and moving TSA employees onto the General Schedule (GS). Proposed agency changes to PASS do not address the underlying issues of fairness, transparency or management accountability. “The GS is structured so that federal employees receive merit pay increases if they are meeting, or exceeding, expected job requirements,” President Kelley said. “The PASS system is arbitrary, based on complicated metrics and supervisors’ opinions.”
o A fair shift-scheduling system;
o Revisions to the current TSA training and recertification system;
o Whistleblower protections for TSA employees. NTEU fully supports H.R. 985, House-passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) that would provide such rights via statute; and
o Collective bargaining rights for TSA employees. The union continues to press for congressional approval of H.R. 3212, a measure sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), that would provide these rights.
TSA was created in late 2001 and agency leadership was granted the authority to determine whether TSA employees would be granted collective bargaining rights; these rights were not granted. TSA later became part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“A stable workforce was one of the primary goals of federalizing the airport screener position, yet attrition rates at TSA remain above 15 percent—by far the highest governmentwide,” President Kelley said. “Administration concerns that collective bargaining rights at TSA would limit management flexibility have been totally discredited by the record of the organized workforce at other DHS bureaus.”
President Kelley said the union is uniquely qualified to represent TSA employees given its long history of representing other federal employees who work in our nation’s airports and are charged with protecting our security. NTEU has represented Customs Service employees—now part of DHS—for more than 30 years and is currently the exclusive representative of the 21,000-employee unit of the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.
The largest independent federal union, NTEU represents some 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments, including more than 2,000 in TSA.