Chairs Lowey and Thompson Introduce Bill to Improve TSA Frontline Workforce
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Committee on Appropriations, and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, today re-introduced legislation to ensure that Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening workforce employees – or Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) – are afforded the same worker rights and protections afforded to other Federal workers under Title 5 of the U.S. Code. H.R. 1140, the Rights for Transportation Security Officers Act of 2019, will offer TSOs full collective bargaining rights, opportunities to effectively raise issues in dispute to an independent third party, and subjection to the General Services wage system.
During the latest government shutdown, TSOs – who are considered “essential” personnel – went without pay for 35 days. Many TSOs had to take second jobs, rely on charities or food banks, or consider leaving TSA for paid work. This extraordinary strain served to magnify the pressures on the TSO workforce, which is already vulnerable to high turnover and low morale.
“Transportation Security Officers are among the lowest-paid federal employees, and many who were already living paycheck-to-paycheck are still struggling to recover from the damaging 35-day Trump Shutdown,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “These roughly 44,000 federal employees have been denied basic worker rights and protections for far too long, and it is long overdue that they receive the same treatment as their fellow employees across the federal government under Title 5. Our bill would grant TSOs these rights and enhance America’s security by retaining experienced and dedicated officers with improved workforce morale.”
“Our frontline TSOs keep our skies safe every day, while receiving some of the lowest pay and barebones workforce rights in the Federal government,” said Chairman Thompson. “This last Trump Shutdown put on sharp display the incredible amount of stress our TSOs are under. It’s time to bring TSA’s personnel and labor management systems in line with the rest of the federal government under Title 5. By improving TSO workforce protections, we will be improving frontline workforce morale and improving our national security.”