Nearly a third of the House’s Democratic membership asked newly confirmed Transportation Security Administration head John S. Pistole last week to “strongly consider” granting his agency’s security workers collective bargaining and other workplace rights.
The letter signed by House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and 87 other Democrats, including his committee’s leadership, came with strong support from organized labor: Both of the unions competing to represent TSA’s transportation security officers had urged lawmakers to sign the request. The letter contained no Republican names.
Many of the Democratic signatories had cosponsored 2009 legislation (HR 1881) introduced by Nita M. Lowey of New York that would have granted the transportation workers broader employee rights, but the bill never came to a vote on the House floor. The Democrats’ letter called on TSA to stop treating its workers “like replaceable parts,” and blamed high turnover at the agency on the current policies.