Wicker Champions Ban on Collective Bargaining that Could Hamper National Security

February 16, 2011

Washington, DC – Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), yesterday voted to prohibit Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel from collectively bargaining, citing security and spending concerns.  Wicker authored the amendment, but it was defeated by a vote of 47-51.

“The TSA agents who safeguard our transportation hubs need flexibility to meet ever-changing threats to our country,” said Wicker.  “Collective bargaining advocated by the Obama Administration could restrict their ability to accomplish their job.  FBI, CIA, and Secret Service personnel do not have collective bargaining for good reason, and TSA personnel should be no different.  Not only would this change to allow bargaining restrict flexibility, the litigation it creates will lead to significant cost increases for taxpayers.  I will continue working to ensure collective bargaining does not impact the safety of America’s air travelers.  The House will consider its own FAA Reauthorization measure, and TSA collective bargaining should be addressed.  This issue is far from over.”

Wicker’s amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill (S.223) would have prohibited more than 40,000 TSA personnel from collective bargaining.  The 2001 law that created TSA gives the administrator authority to decide whether or not unionizing is allowed.  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 will be allowed to vote on union representation.  Balloting is tentatively scheduled for March 9 through April 19, 2011. 

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.

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