Prior to the Obama Administration, Unionization was forbidden for the TSA. It was felt that unionization would endanger national security and put traveler’s lives at risk. No matter what you think of the TSA, they are the only thing we have protecting us from terrorists entering the country via airplane. A unionized TSA would be less likely to responding rapidly to new situations that may require change in work rules etc. Now all indications are that the 40,000 TSA airport screeners will be allowed to negotiate through collective bargaining.
In a profession in charge of security unionization would necessitate replacing merit promotions with seniority schedules. Who do you want making the final decisions regarding who gets onto your flight, the guy who has shown that he is the best at spotting bombs, or someone whose major accomplishment is not dying or getting fired the longest? Who do you want making decisions or work rules, a manager who is trying to protect travelers or a Union President? If answer unions, would you say the same for the military trying to protect you? How about the CIA? Would you like the next head of the CIA to be Murry from the mail room who has been on the job for 50 years? OK, that last one is an extreme but you get the idea.
TSA Administrator John Pistole has yet to determine whether employees will have collective bargaining privileges. Created in 2001, TSA was excluded from federal regulations giving workers collective bargaining rights. Agency leaders have the authority to grant those rights but have chosen not to act on the issue. It is expected that he will grant those rights. And in early march, the airport security screeners will get to choose between the American Federation of Government Employees and National Treasury Employees Union.
“This important election, together with the much-anticipated grant of collective bargaining rights, will mark the start of a new and exciting chapter for TSA employees, their agency and the traveling public,” NTEU President Colleen Kelley said.
The election, covering more than 40,000 employees, will be the largest in federal government history, according to the National Treasury Employees Union.
Both unions are pressing for collective-bargaining rights in the very-near future, a possibility that has troubled lawmakers in the past.
“Employees should have had (collective-bargaining rights) from day one,” NTEU President Colleen Kelley told FoxNews.com, expressing concern that TSA workers are worried about “favoritism” at the agency — something she claims her union could address.
“If those workplace rules are rules employees don’t see as fair … then you’re going to have a work environment that is not a healthy one for employees and not a healthy one for the agency. And that’s what currently exists at the TSA,” she said.
Others aren’t so sure whether a unionized TSA workforce is a positive step. Consider this, during the Christmas Day blizzard that ravaged the east coast, supervisors in the NYC sanitation union called for a little work slow down to protest city budged cuts. They chose proving their point over the health and safety of the people they were supposed to serve. Two people died as a direct result of the action and the union is under federal investigation. Makes one worry what a TSA work slowdown would look like.
Then of course there are budgetary considerations:
“Unionization typically means two things: higher costs for employment and no change in productivity; in fact, maybe even a backsliding in productivity,” said Daniel Griswold, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Trade Policy Studies. “Bottom line is we’re going to get less security for the dollar, or pay more for the same amount of security.”
Griswold, though, said the tide may be turning for public-sector unions. He said taxpayers are “connecting the dots” between union work forces and “exploding” budget deficits, leading to less public sympathy for the importance of union-negotiated benefits.
But the president’s sympathy has been on the Union side, he as constantly gone against the public good to help out his union buddies, be it ignoring the rights of Primary investors to help out the UAW in the GM and Chrysler reorganizations or the President’s executive order known as “High Road Contracting Policy” which essentially cuts out 85% of construction companies that are non-union shops out of the $500 billion dollar market of Federal construction Jobs. There is no indication that he will react any differently when it comes to the TSA and collective bargaining.
When it comes right down to it President Obama will probably do what he has done before, chose the welfare of his union buddies over the welfare of the rest of the country. Unfortunately this time its more than jobs and money at stake, its people’s lives.