On behalf of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), I urge you to support H.R. 903, the “Rights for the TSA Workforce Act of 2021” when it is considered during tomorrow’s Homeland Security Committee markup.
Every day, thousands of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) show up to work to keep our aviation system, mass transit networks, and large public gatherings safe and secure for transportation workers and the general public. However, since the creation of the TSA, its dedicated and skilled employees have been denied many of the basic federal worker rights and protections enjoyed by other federal workers, including those in the Department of Homeland Security. There is no justification for the ongoing mistreatment of the men and women of the TSO workforce, and H.R. 903 takes critical steps to ensure that they have the workplace rights they have earned and deserve.
H.R. 903 would repeal the TSA Administrator’s authority to maintain the existing unequal personnel system that applies only to TSOs, and require TSA to provide the workplace rights and protections granted to other federal employees under Title 5. The bill would also grant TSOs access to the Merit Systems Protection Board — a neutral arbiter in workplace discipline matters that nearly all federal employees have access to, including TSA management and administrative personnel. Finally, the bill would put TSOs on the general pay scale with regular step increases. These reforms would dramatically and immediately improve working conditions for TSOs and are vital for the future success of the workforce.
TSOs have had to endure this workplace inequity for far too long, and it is a significant factor in the low morale and high turnover rates that confront the agency. That our government continues to maintain this system for the professionals who keep every American safe is simply unconscionable. TTD calls on the Committee to favorably report out H.R. 903, and to reject any amendment that seeks to eliminate critical components of this bill, including the provision of fair pay and the establishment of collective bargaining rights.