Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), has introduced the TSA Efficiency and Flexibility Act, S.1353, which would guarantee Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel could respond quickly to emerging threats. The Wicker bill prohibits TSA personnel from collective bargaining because of security concerns.
“Our security personnel need flexibility to meet the changing threats they face,” said Wicker. “The FBI, the CIA, and the Secret Service do not have collective bargaining rights for good reason. The burdensome regulations that could result from TSA collective bargaining add constraints and increase costs. At a time when states are struggling because of expensive state employee unions, allowing TSA personnel to enter into collective bargaining is the wrong policy.”
Wicker’s bill would make a previous TSA decision law, preventing more than 40,000 TSA personnel from collective bargaining. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) introduced a similar bill in the House. The TSA Efficiency and Flexibility Act maintains whistleblower and other protections for workers.
The 2001 law that created TSA gives the administrator authority to decide whether or not unions could be formed. The Bush-era administrator issued a memorandum stating that unions could not collectively bargain on behalf of TSA employees.
The Obama Administration has allowed collective bargaining to move forward. On November 12, 2010, the Federal Labor Relations Authority decided that TSA employees could vote on union representation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 14.7 million workers were a member of a union in 2010. Of these, 7.6 million work in government jobs while 7.1 million work in the private sector.