Unionizing TSA

Unionizing TSA

Card check isn't the only labor issue on the table in Washington. Airport screeners checking baggage for the Transportation Security Administration may soon win the right to unionize, the Federal Times reports.

Two major government employee unions are competing for those 39,000 potential members — The American Federation of Government Employees and National Treasury Employees Union, Stephen Losey writes in a May 5 article.

TSA screeners were denied collective bargaining rights by former Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, who worried that union work rules could prove an obstacle if TSA had to reassign workers in an emergency. Airport screeners are paid under a pay-for-performance system the unions decry as unfair.

President Obama pledged to allow unionization at TSA during his campaign last year, and Reps. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, introduced a bill last month that would give screeners bargaining rights and move them to the government's general pay schedule.

Elsewhere in the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection officers are unionized — under the NTEU.