GOP Fights Unionization of Airport Screeners

GOP Congressmen led by Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) are moving to block legislation, which the White House supports, which would allow unionization of nearly 50,000 airport screeners, a move that could create one of the largest federal sector unions in the country and hand over $11 million in new annual dues to the Democrat's greatest ally and biggest donors, the labor unions.

In early November of last year, the Federal Labor Relations Authority announced it would let TSA employees vote on union representation. That vote is tentatively scheduled for March 9th through April 19th.

Union membership has steadily declined in this country since the 1950s. Currently, other law enforcement agencies such as the FBI are not allowed collective bargaining rights under unionization. Currently, the largest number of unionized workers are in government.

But the GOP may not succeed, which would give union officials veto power over airport security procedures. The TSA has consistently opposed collective bargaining since 9-11 for a reason, Republican Congressmen say, and not just because it would increase wait times for travelers. Unionization poses serious security risks, the GOP says.

Collective bargaining could possibly force TSA managers to share sensitive intelligence information with union negotiators when new workplace procedures are required, thus increasing the possibility of damaging leaks, the GOP says.

There is even a provision in the Administration's TSA unionization request granting the TSA administrator access to Sensitive Security Information, says Sen. DeMint. And TSA managers would no longer be able to reward high-performing screeners or fire those unable or unwilling to perform their duties in an efficient manner, damaging safety the GOP says.

Collective bargaining could also possibly prevent necessary minute-by-minute security decisions that need to be made during a terrorist threat, forcing TSA to ask permission from union bosses before changes are made, the GOP says. Supporters say the TSA workers would only be able to bargain over performance evaluations and the bidding process for workshifts.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) offered an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization bill, now being debated in the Senate, that would prohibit collective bargaining for TSA security screeners.

But when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked in a recent hearing to explain how collective bargaining would improve safety for American travelers, she couldn’t cite a single example, Senator DeMint says.

The Senator adds: "Now the same union bureaucracy that made service at post offices and the DMV the fodder for comedians could soon be a way of life at America’s airports," endangering air travelers.