Last week, the House of Representatives voted 220-201 to pass a bill that would provide Transport Security Administration staff with the remuneration, benefits and due process protection already provided to the vast majority of the federal workforce.
Since the TSA was set up following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the agency’s employees have been part of a staffing system that does not receive regular promotions like most other federal workers and does not have adequate protection and protection for whistleblowers. They also have reduced collective bargaining rights.
As a result, the agency suffers from persistently low morale and retention; according to a survey by federal officials from 2020, the TSA ranks last at 407you place among the sub-components of the agency in terms of pay satisfaction. Early-level screening salaries start at an average of $ 35,000 per year and can be up to $ 29,000 per year, figures much lower than their counterparts elsewhere in government.
The rights of the TSA Workforce Act (HR 903), introduced by Benny Thompson, Representative, D-Miss. of the federal government and the proper protection process, as well as full collective bargaining rights of the federal sector. The bill has 14 Republican co-authors, although only four Republicans ultimately voted in favor of passing the bill.
The Biden administration is in the midst of efforts to provide TSA staff with many of these protections administratively, as well as to adopt a new pay system similar to the General Schedule, although Congress will need to allocate an additional $ 1.6 billion compared to with the accepted level of funding from 2021 in fiscal 2023 to adapt to relocation.
In the House of Representatives, Thompson said his bill would provide TSA staff inspectors with an average salary increase of 30%, while federal air marshals would receive a 21% increase, setting salaries for both professions in line with other agencies. of the Department of Homeland Security, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“The latest analysis of turnover shows that one in three transport security officers has left in two years,” he said. “He also revealed that in one year, TSA spent $ 16 million to hire and recruit nearly 2,000 people who left just months after getting the job. This revolving door of recruitment, training and subsequent loss of transmission system operators is unsustainable and emphasizes the need to find a permanent solution to ensure that the TSA meets its critical national security mission.
But some Republicans opposed the bill, arguing that while supporting the increase in airport inspectors’ salaries in theory, the bill would also benefit “bureaucrats” and union bosses. They also argue that granting full collective bargaining rights to TSA staff would prevent the agency from quickly introducing new procedures necessary for national security, a claim that TSA denies.
Earlier, Republicans tried unsuccessfully to change the bill by replacing it with a plan to provide an immediate $ 3,000 increase in TSA pay, followed by a series of annual increases totaling a 16 percent pay rise.
“It’s clear that all Republicans support a pay rise for TSA workers, but this bill doesn’t specifically address that,” said Michael Guest, R-Miss. “If so, during the marking of the commissions, [Republicans’] the amendment would be accepted. This bill today is not just about increasing wages, it is a bill of labor. This is an attempt to unite an entire federal agency. We should not put workers’ leaders in committees that protect the traveling public. “
The TSA frontline workforce is now a union through the American Civil Service Federation. If this legislation becomes law, this negotiating body will remain, as well as the fact that the managers in the agency have no right to organize.
Representative Lou Korea, D-California, called the idea that public safety and national security missions could be threatened by collective bargaining such as red herring.
“What’s wrong with the unions?” He said. “Our border patrol officers are united in unions, local police officers are united, local sheriffs are united and countless other public safety officers are united. . . Law enforcement agencies in federal and local governments have benefited from the representation of collective bargaining without any harm to national security. “
With the adoption of the bill, it is already going to the Senate.