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SeaTac Airport TSA screeners take frustrations public

AFGE-TSAlogoSEATAC (July 11, 2013) — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees at SeaTac International Airport are frustrated with issues ranging from short staffing to denied breaks to refusal of light duty for pregnant officers — and with management’s refusal to work with their union, American Federation of Government Employees Local 1121, to resolve these issues. So now they are taking these issues to the public in the hope that they can restore the safe, efficient security screening process that passengers expect when they travel.

TSA workers and their union representatives will be leafleting incoming and outgoing passengers on the SeaTac Airport sky bridges next week informing them of the situation and asking them to weigh in with TSA and SeaTac Airport management on behalf of the workers.

TAKE A STAND! — Supporters of TSA employees are urged to contact TSA management to tell them, “TSA’s refusal to meet with and treat their officers with dignity and respect is WRONG.” Deliver that message to: FSD Jeff Holmgren at and Regional Director Mike Irwin at

ALSO, you are invited to participate in next week’s leafleting, which will be from 8 to 10 a.m. and again from 1 to 3 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, July 15-17. To participate, RSVP to AFGE 1121 President Cheryl Erbar via email or AFGE organizer Cindy Feist via email and you’ll be provided instructions on when and where to meet.

TSA-screenersBACKGROUND —  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in the wake of September 11, 2001, to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people and commerce. In 2003, as TSA workers at several airports were readying to vote on joining AFGE, the Bush administration, citing so-called “national security” concerns, terminated the screeners’ collective bargaining rights. In the ensuing years, TSA employees complained of abusive work environments, hostile management, and their inability to get respect on the job.

In August 2012, after a nearly 10-year battle to restore their collective bargaining rights and allow TSA employees to choose AFGE as their union, some 45,000 TSA workers got their first-ever labor contract.

But now, AFGE Local 1121 reports that management at Sea-Tac International Airport is violating the terms of that contract and has refused to meet with union representatives to resolve those issues. The union has filed grievances but the remains frustrated with management’s actions and disrespect toward their employees.

So now, the union has decided to take their issues to the public in hopes they can be resolved. Here’s what the AFGE Local 1121 flier to be distributed next week says:

As passengers juggling a travel agenda, whether for business or pleasure, the last thing you want to see are long, slow moving lines at the airport.

As TSA officers working here at SEA-TAC we understand your concerns and frustrations. Although required screening procedures can seem a burden to travelers, we take our job of air travel safety serious. For years it has been the TSA Officers that have carried the burden of public discontent and frustration. We find it increasingly difficult to be an advocate for the flying public traveling through SEA-TAC International Airport because TSA management has refused to cooperate and communicate with us about important issues. Due to previous scandals and other problems SEA-TAC has had a revolving door of TSA management officials over the years. AFGE Local 1121 wants the public to see behind the curtain. It is time to expose some of the current working conditions of passenger friendly officers that affect your travel:

Hiring Freeze: Creates longer lines and increases passenger delays

Increased Risk: Working short-handed and with fewer employees (when lives are at stake) is not the answer to protecting the flying public!

Motherhood Discrimination: Pregnant officers denied light duty

Light Duty Abolished: Injured officers being denied the option to work

Breaks and Lunches: Some areas are denied proper breaks and lunches

Speed-ups: TSA checkpoint officers are increasingly forced to work with fewer employees. As TSA management increases the pressure on each of us to “work faster” it increases the chances of failure

FMLA Violations: TSA management continually violates officer’s rights to exercise the benefits of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Shift Changes: Constant changes to our schedules at TSA management’s whim preventing most officers from having a normal home life

Pay Freezes: Over three years of inflation while our pay remains the same

Benefit Changes: While our pay has been stagnated our benefits are cut

AFGE Local 1121 has already submitted grievances requesting that TSA Management at SEA-TAC provide the proper staffing to meet all guidelines.

Frustrated and fed up with long lines and excessive waits? We urge you to contact the Federal Security Director (FSD) and the Regional Director for SEA-TAC International Airport. Additionally you can:

Know that Officers are only doing their job and we need you, the passengers, to help us do a better one.

Also comment to your airline about the frustration you have felt with the excessive wait times.

Tell TSA “It’s Wrong” Contact/Complain to:

FSD Jeff Holmgren– 206-214-1106 or 206-380-5706 —
Regional Director Mike Irwin– 206-834-2422 —


CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!