Legislation (HR-903) has been reintroduced in the House to put the roughly 40,000 TSA screeners under the GS pay system, resulting in higher salaries for most, and apply to them standard federal employment policies in areas including the full range of collective bargaining, whistleblower protection and appeal rights.
The TSA, an arm of DHS, has operated under more restrictive personnel policies since its creation in the wake of the 9-11 attacks as part of the Transportation Department. “Since 2011, TSOs, who make up more than 70% of TSA’s workforce, have had labor union representation but, because of limitations imposed by TSA, have been denied full collective bargaining rights and opportunities to effectively raise issues in dispute to an independent third party, like the Merit Systems Protection Board, for impartial resolution,” sponsors said in a fact sheet.
They say the bill will address the high turnover and low employee satisfaction levels that have annually put the TSA near the bottom in the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and the Best Places to Work in Government rankings.
In the prior Congress the House passed similar language twice—once as a separate bill and once as an attachment to another—but the Senate did not agree.