TSA Election a Snooze Event for a Large Majority of Agency Workers

The author goes over election results at TSA and suggests much less of an overwhelming interest in union representation by most employees than claimed by the involved unions.

According to the New York Times:

“American Federation of Government Employees won a close runoff vote to represent about 44,000 employees at the Transportation Security Administration in the largest union election for federal workers in history. Federal officials tallying the votes say A.F.G.E. received 8,903 votes, or 51 percent, while National Treasury Employees Union got 8,447 votes, or 49 percent. The runoff was held after neither union received more than 50 percent of votes in the first election earlier this year.”

What AFGE got was about 20% (actually 20.234%) while NTEU got 19% (actually 19.197%) considering a workforce of 44,000 eligible voters.  Both unions together got 17,350 votes or 39% of the workers to vote for either one which means that the remaining 61% didn’t care enough to vote. If the truth be told, 446 people or 1% of the workforce decided the contest.  In the earlier contest leading to the runoff, AFGE claimed dismay at having claimed 13,000 members and getting only 8,369 votes.  After months of campaigning, the union apparently only convinced 504 more employees to vote for them while NTEU only got 352 more to vote for them. See the numbers for the first election.

Not only was it a loud snorer to the workers, but as of this writing TSA hasn’t issued a press release on the matter.  After all the claims by both unions of epic oppression of biblical proportions by TSA management, 26,650 employees either weren’t buying the union’s pitch or were asleep at the X Ray machine or were more enticed by patting down whoever they could. There was one big surprise.

NTEU Apparently Won’t Challenge the Outcome

I can’t remember a close Federal election that wasn’t challenged by the loser and this was much closer than most.  NTEU’s press release said that President Collen Kelly was proud of the union’s efforts despite losing, Huh?  Obama’s partnershipping must be working to bring the unions together.  There was a time when AFGE President John Gage’s own Council at Social Security was the subject of a raid by prior NTEU President Bob Tobias, now a “Distinguished Practitioner in Residence” at American U in DC.  NTEU was rumored to have spent $8 million on that losing proposition.  I wonder what they spent and lost at TSA.  Of course, since the Agencies pay virtually all the unions’ costs, dues are available for this kind of a campaign.

FLRA’s regulations on “Objections” to an election are as follows:

§ 2422.26   Objections to the election.

(a) Filing objections to the election. Objections to the procedural conduct of the election or to conduct that may have improperly affected the results of the election may be filed by any party. Objections must be filed and received by the Regional Director within five (5) days after the tally of ballots has been served. Any objections must be timely regardless of whether the challenged ballots are sufficient in number to affect the results of the election. The objections must be supported by clear and concise reasons. An original and two (2) copies of the objections must be received by the Regional Director.

(b) Supporting evidence. The objecting party must file with the Regional Director evidence, including signed statements, documents and other materials supporting the objections within ten (10) days after the objections are filed.

So NTEU has a little time to decide whether to object.  Some would claim they’re getting soft if they don’t object but if they do, those Forum meetings at OPM might get exciting, but I guess we couldn’t have that.

Gage: AFGE Will Kill TSA’s PASS System

The Wall Street Journal quotes AFGE President saying “his first order of business will be to “kill” TSA’s Performance and Accountability Standards System (PASS), alleging it is discriminatory to older workers, minorities and women.”  On the other hand, the Washington Post quotes Gage as saying, “AFGE anticipates developing a cooperative and cohesive relationship with TSA as we move to forge a collective bargaining contract that TSOs so desperately need”.  Does that mean AFGE will Kill TSA with cooperation or cooperate if TSA kills PASS?  Maybe you can figure it out.

As always, any opinion discerned regarding the above is the author’s alone.

About the Author

Bob Gilson is a consultant with a specialty in working with and training Federal agencies to resolve employee problems at all levels. A retired agency labor and employee relations director, Bob has authored or co-authored a number of books dealing with Federal issues and also conducts training seminars.