Labor Pushes to Unionize Airport Security

Posted: Feb 23, 2010 12:01 AM
After President Obama's nominee for administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) withdrew his nomination amid controversy, a government employees union is taking it upon themselves to unionize the agency. 

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, believes the Obama administration has been too passive in delivering on its promise of unionizing TSA employees.  "Our people, we're frustrated by the lack of having a strong leadership at TSA.  The agency desperately needs it.  So we've just decided to step out on this and to move the issue within our rights." 

Gage's union now hopes to force a union election.  The union filed a petition with the Federal Labor Relations Authority today to hold an election that would let them represent the nation's 40,000 airport transportation security officers.

“It would have been obviously more traditional to have collective bargaining rights and then move for an election, but the need for these workers to have a voice is just a necessity,” Gage said. “This is something that not just our union, but as I said all of labor, has right in its targets because we’re just not going to be insulted this way.”

Unionizing the TSA has been an Obama administration priority sense the '08 campaign trail and Democrats will certainly be hard-pressed to start moving on the issue if they expect grassroots labor support for the 2010 midterm elections.