Representatives of the American Federation of Government Employees and National Treasury Employees Union said that their top priority under the Obama administration will be to ensure collective bargaining rights for federal airport screeners. Both groups announced plans to immediately boost efforts to organize thousands of workers at the agency.
“We’re going to step up real hard on TSA,” said John Gage, president of AFGE, on Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. “Now with a real light at the end of the tunnel … we’re looking to step out and provide [collective bargaining] rights and deliver a true voice at work for [transportation security officers].”
Gage said AFGE has hired about 35 business agents who will be responsible for setting up union locals at major airport hubs across the country. AFGE also has positioned its members in other federal agencies, including Customs and Border Protection and the Defense Department, to help “get behind the rights of [TSA] workers.”
It’s worth noting that one of the reasons why the airport security personnel were nationalised in the first place was to facilitate union organisation. It was that objective that sickened then Senator Zell Miller (D-GA) so much that he virtually walked on his party, addressing the Republican National Convention in 2004. But now, there’s really no place to go.
The only thing that will make the collective bargaining rights of security personnel work is if they can succeed in organising the terrorists in a similar manner. Having spent many years with labour relations as part of my portfolio, I’d love to watch Osama bin Laden’s reaction to seeing his jihadis names on petitions to organise (so much for card check!) or the first time his prospective martyrs filed a grievance.