Now that the Transportation Security Administration chief has had about a month to settle into his job, unions and some lawmakers are starting to make more noise on collective bargaining rights for airport screeners.
On Thursday, National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley encouraged members of Congress to sign a letter asking TSA Administrator John Pistole to review agency policies and to “strongly consider providing comprehensive workplace and employment rights,” including veterans preference and whistleblower protection in addition to collective bargaining.
The letter, drafted by Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., agued such rights would help address low morale and high rates of attrition, injury and discrimination complaints within the screener workforce. Thompson and Lowey’s 2009 Transportation Security Workforce Enhancement Act (H.R. 1881), which would allow Transportation Security officers to negotiate workplace conditions, has gathered nearly 150 co-sponsors.