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TSA workers ratify union contract

AFGE/TSA officials
sign agreement

Transportation Security Administration workers voted to ratify their first-ever collective bargaining agreement with the agency on Nov. 9.

The agreement between the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and TSA was ratified with a vote of 17,326-1,774, according to the union. The contract will take effect on December 9, 2012.

The national collective bargaining agreement will provide improved uniforms, and it permits uniform variations to account for weather and temperature, said AFGE. The agreement will also provide a greater degree of consistency and fairness on issues like annual leave bidding and shift trades, as well as a stable and consistent process for shift bidding and movement between full- and part-time, it said.

“The completion of today’s agreement between TSA and AFGE is a milestone in our relationship with our workforce and AFGE," said TSA Administrator John Pistole on Nov. 9. “Together, we will continue to secure our nation's transportation systems and keep the traveling public safe.”

The collective bargaining agreement will be implemented 30 days from the date of ratification and will remain in effect for a period of three years, he said.

 “AFGE is proud that TSA workers finally have a union contract that will improve their working lives and bring stability to the workforce,” said AFGE National President David Cox in a Nov. 9 statement.

“This agreement will mean better working conditions, fair evaluation practices and safer workplaces, and in doing so, it will improve morale. This is important because low morale leads to unsafe levels of attrition in an agency where a stable, professional workforce of career employees is vital to its national security mission,” said Cox.

“With this new contract, we hope to turn a new page in the history of this agency while we help make TSA a great place to work,” said AFGE TSA Council 100 President Hydrick Thomas.

Ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), had backed unionization of TSA employees, was also pleased with the agreement.  “After over a decade of struggling for basic workplace rights, Transportation Security Officers were finally given the opportunity to vote on a contract that ensures that their voice will be heard in the workplace,” he said. “They voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratification of the contract. This contract will improve both morale and workplace conditions. ”