Federal Employees News Digest

TSA Employees win appeals rights


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was officially founded in November 2001, in the immediate aftermath of terrorist use of commercial airliners in the 9/11 attacks. The emphasis at the time was on speed in standing up the agency and security for the public—not fairness toward employees. 

For the next 20 years, organized labor has been arguing and pressing for full appeals rights before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and better pay for the agency’s Transportation Security Officers (TSOs)—the tens of thousands of screeners, and other staff, at the sprawling organizations more than 450 airport locations. 

And this week, finally, the union representing TSOs—the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)—announced that it has achieved victory.

“As of Sept. 26, TSA officers will now have broad appeal rights under the MSPB,” the union said. “We fought hard and we won.”

The new rights—as laid down in a memorandum of agreement between the agency and the union—means that these long-underappreciated feds will have the right to appeal and contest adverse actions taken by management—such as removals, lengthy suspensions and demotions. 

The union release notes that a final Determination on this and related matters, to be issued by TSA Administrator David Pekoske, is expected to follow—and, furthermore, “to expand collective bargaining rights” for TSOs. 

AFGE and other employee advocates have emphasized in their arguments, throughout the long struggle leading to this sea change, that better treatment of employees is going to lead to safer skies for the flying public, too. 

“Today is an exciting day for our union and TSA officers across the country,” Hydrick Thomas, AFGE TSA Council 100’s president, representing some 45,000 TSOs nationwide. “For 20 years we’ve been fighting to have the same appeal rights as our managers and fellow federal employees at different agencies throughout the government. We’ve been fighting to be treated as equals, nothing more, nothing less.“

2021 Digital Almanac

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