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Clarke Votes to Expand Transportation Security Officers; Workplace Rights

H.R. 1881, the “Transportation Security Workforce Enhancement Act” would allow more than 42,000 TSOs and more than 50,000 total TSA employees to bargain collectively, ensure appropriate compensation, and provide protections against whistleblower retaliation. Employees at Federal Emergency Management Agency, Customs and Border Patrol, and numerous other federal security agencies are already afforded these basic workplace rights.

I am proud to help advance this bill through the legislative process,” said Clarke.   “Transportation Security Officers deserve the same workplace protections, rights, pay and benefits that their colleagues across DHS and the federal government enjoy.” The lawmaker added, “I am honored to show my support for the hardworking men and women that I see nearly every week during my travels between Regan National and LaGuardia.”   
Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) working in New York City airports and across the country are a first line of defense against terrorism. However, these workers suffer from high injury rates, attrition, and the lowest morale of all federal agencies. They lack the workplace protections – collective bargaining rights and whistleblower protections – that other federal employees enjoy. The lack of protections for screening personnel, combined with poor workforce management, increases costs and decreases security.

Clarke stressed, “It is particularly gratifying for me to help undo one of the many vestiges of the Bush Administration by voting to usher this bill to the House floor for passage.”

The House of Representatives approved language expanding TSO workplace protections in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, but the provision was dropped in conference in response to President Bush’s veto threat.