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AFGE fights House GOP attack against TSA officers’ rights

The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO vowed to re-double its efforts to preserve Transportation Security Administration collective bargaining after anti-union forces in the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment Thursday that would, if written into law, eliminate bargaining rights for TSA officers.

The House voted 218-205 in favor of Rep. Todd Rokita’s (R-IN) amendment to ban funding to implement TSA collective bargaining. Washington Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, “Doc” Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers voted for the amendment, while Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8th) joined Democratic Reps. Jay Inslee, Rick Larsen, Norm Dicks, Jim McDermott and Adam Smith in voting against it.

“AFGE will not allow these corporate, right-wing politicians to make being in a union un-American,” AFGE National President John Gage said. “This amendment is nothing but a repeat of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s unfounded attack on the right of all Americans to have a voice at work and the right to bargain collectively.”

This fight isn’t over. AFGE, with the full support of the 12 million-member AFL-CIO, will be lobbying hard — both in Washington, DC and throughout the country — to ensure that this amendment never becomes law. Even if the Senate passed a similar amendment, or agreed to the House provision in a conference, President Barack Obama would have to agree to sign a bill that includes the ban on TSA collective bargaining.

“Despite what Mr. Rokita claimed when he introduced his amendment, there is no evidence that collective bargaining rights have any negative impact on national security, nor that these rights undermine the ability of TSA or any other DHS employee to perform their duties,” Gage said. “Let us not forget that the 9/11 police and firefighter first responders all were union members with a collective bargaining contract, and it was AFGE police at Ft. Hood who didn’t stop to check their collective bargaining contracts before taking down a killer.”

AFGE is the only union to represent TSOs since the agency’s inception, and currently has dues-paying members in 40 AFGE TSA Locals across the country. With more than 265,000 dues-paying members in more than 75 federal and D.C. government agencies, AFGE is the single largest federal employee union in the country.

For more information on AFGE at TSA, please visit

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