How will the TSA union vote be decided?

Workers at Uncle Sam\'s most touchy/feely agency must soon decide which union they want to represent them...even if they don\'t like any of the choices. Senior ...

Federal workers who want nothing to do with them will have the deciding vote in a runoff election between an AFL-CIO affiliated government union or an independent union to speak for the nation’s airport screeners.

Because of their front-line, high-stress jobs, employees of the Transportation Security Administration have more hands on (literally) daily contact with the public than any other group of civil servants. Many of them believe they need a union to help them with work-related issues such as scheduling and overtime.

But looking at the results of a 6-week telephone/mail ballot, it appears many TSA workers don’t want to be represented by a union. Any union!

Less than half the 40,000 TSA workers in the representation pool who were eligible to vote actually did vote.

After a hard-fought and expensive representation campaign within the high-visibility TSA, the American Federation of Government Employees got 8,369 votes while its rival, the National Treasury Employees Union got 8,059 votes. What must have disappointed both unions was not so much the narrow margin, but the fact that another 3,111 TSA employees voted “no union” in the telephone balloting. And the majority didn’t vote at all!

Given that the two unions they were separated by only 274 votes that means that the 3,000-plus who don’t want a union representing them, and the majority of employees who didn’t bother to vote, could be the ones deciding the winner. In this round of balloting employees will not be offered the choice of voting “no union.”

Since it was set up in the wake of 9/11, workers at the TSA – like employees of the FBI, CIA and other law enforcement and national security agencies – have not been allowed to organize. Some felt that reflected an anti-union bias of the Bush administration. Others said it made sense given the nature of TSA’s work. But last November the Federal Labor Relations Authority reversed a regional officials ruling and said the two unions could campaign and have a vote.

Unlike unions in the private sector and in many state and local governments, nonpostal federal unions (except in rare exceptions) cannot bargain over wages, hours or things like pensions or vacations. They are also forbidden by law from striking.

Those who are pro-union say the restrictions on federal unions allow them to concentrate on increasingly important work-life issues. The fact that they cannot strike means they don’t need to maintain a huge strike fund warchest to support members on the picket line. That keeps dues extremely low when compared to private sector and most other public employee unions.

Anti-union workers say because of their limited range of bargaining they don’t need a union to speak for them. Others object to the political activities and endorsements of union leaders, all of whom endorsed and supported President Obama over his GOP rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the most recent Presidential elections.

Although both the AFGE and NTEU have expressed confidence they will be the winner in this summer’s election, both have to be watching and wondering if the very large none-of-the-above TSA employees will vote this time, and if so, for whom?

To reach me:

Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

The biggest volcano on Earth is Hawaii’s Mauna Loa.


May 23 tentatively set for TSA union run-off election
Transportation security officers are tentatively set to begin voting May 23 in a run-off election to decide which of two unions they want to be represented by.

Anti-leak policy could cost some feds their retirement
Leak a little, lose a lot. That’s the idea behind part of a newly proposed Intelligence authorization act would allow intelligence agencies to strip employees of their pension and other benefits, if they’re accused of improperly disclosing information to unauthorized persons.

Va. officials urged to sue over Mark Center move
A new Pentagon inspector general report finds “procedural and technical weaknesses” in the Army’s traffic assessment surrounding its plans to move 6,400 Defense employees to a privately owned office complex in northern Virginia. Rep. Jim Moran, whose district includes the site, said the findings provide the underpinnings for local officials to sue the Pentagon to stop the move.

Exclusive: Schmidt gauges cyber progress
The White House cybersecurity advisor said many of the initiatives are in the operational stages and are making a difference. But some in industry and government say there is a vacuum in leadership from his office and OMB. Howard Schmidt says it’s clear what role his office, OMB and DHS play.

Order would force vendors to report political donations
Federal contractor groups are up in arms over a draft executive order that would require them to submit information about political contributions as part of their bid proposal packages.

Copyright © 2024 Federal News Network. All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.