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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

TSA Unionization: A $30 Million Annual Gift to Union Bosses

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” — Milton Friedman

Another reward for union bosses; another slap in the face for Americans. When we have an administration more concerned about rewarding its union cronies than the U.S. Constitution (see ObamaCare for reference), giving union bosses access to the wallets of TSOs was only a matter of time. Now, the Transportation Security Agency’s blue shirts who are doing Janet Napolitano’s bidding frisking, groping, molesting and seemingly sexually assaulting the American public, are about to get license for further abuse—a union card.

In a significant victory for federal employee unions, the Federal Labor Relations Authority decided last Friday that Transportation Security Administration staffers will be allowed to vote on union representation. It’s interesting to note that the name of the FLRA is not Federal Labor Relations Authority rather than Administration. I guess “Authority” gives them absolute power, something not enumerated in Article I, Section 8.

The decision clears the way for a campaign by the government’s two largest labor organizations, the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union, to represent some 50,000 transportation security officers.

It was bound to happen. Before it became an agency known as Fourth Amendment violators, due to its critical national security responsibilities, the TSA was created in 2001 as a non-union agency  As labor attorney Jay Sumner notes: “Enacted in 2001, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) provides that the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security has the power to, among other things, determine the compensation, terms and conditions of employment for employees who carry out security screening functions. Accordingly, in a 2003 memorandum, the Under Secretary declared that TSA officers, “in light of their critical national security responsibilities, shall not, as a term or condition of their employment, be entitled to engage in collective bargaining or be represented for the purpose of engaging in such bargaining by any representative or organization.”

Democrats successfully pushed to federalize airport screening in 2001, always with the goal in mind of augmenting the union rolls with thousands of dues-paying members. These powerful organizations just happen to be key players in getting out the vote for Democrats. AFGE and NTEU gave a combined $1.4 million in donations last cycle, 98.3 percent of which landed in the campaign coffers of congressional Democrats.

The unionization order followed Mr. Pistole‘s Jan. 28 decision to block airports from taking further advantage of a program that allowed airports to opt to use private screening contractors for security matters. Already, 16 airports, including those in San Francisco and Kansas City, decided their customers deserved better treatment. Obama administration officials saw the opt-out program as a direct threat to their union-boosting plans.

Those plans would do nothing to make airports safer. To the contrary, with collective bargaining power over workplace issues such as work shifts and vacation time, unionized TSA screeners will be even less responsive to public complaints. Any changes that need to be made to address new security threats would need to be negotiated with the union. If an individual worker stays home sick, the TSA might be forced to ask permission from a union representative to ask somebody else on short notice to fill in.

Katie Gage, executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute, said taxpayers also will get short shrift. Unlike in the private sector, government unions have no effective counterbalance. There’s no “management” worried about maintaining efficiency in order to make profits (or avoid losses). The ability of the agency to fulfill its mission also would be diminished. “It is as absurd for these people to form a union as it would be for the Coast Guard to have a union,” Ms. Gage told The Washington Times. 
Instead of watching for terrorists, the new TSA will be watching the clock, determined to get home the instant a shift ends. With powerful union lawyers on call to protect from any adverse personal actions, no matter the cause, agents have nothing to fear from mistreating the flying public. This is another example of the administration putting political needs over America’s security. I predicted this last November and it has come true. More government unionized employees, just what this nation needs. 

Here’s some informal statistics for you:
  • Number of TSA employees eligible for unionization: 50,000
  • TSA budget for FY 2010: $7.8 billion
  • Estimated Union Dues TSA unionization will provide union bosses at $50 per month: $2,500,000 per month or $30,000,000 per year.
  • Number of Americans whose Fourth Amendment rights have allegedly been violated: Thousands and still counting.
No matter how Obama can bamboozle Bill O’Reilly he still has his radical liberal agenda and is cow towing to the unions for his reelection campaign.

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