TSA Bureaucrats Reverse Bush Administration Policy On National Security Implications Of Airport Screener Unionization
Washington, DC (August 17, 2005) – National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation President Mark Mix today wrote to President Bush expressing “deep concern” over the bureaucratic reversal of Administration policy regarding the forced unionization of airport screeners under Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) oversight.
Until recent days, the Bush Administration had long been on the record against granting monopoly bargaining privileges to union officials over airport security screeners, citing national security concerns.
Mix’s letter to President Bush questions the new position taken by TSA in a leading National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case considering whether privately employed security screeners under a pilot TSA program may be forcibly unionized under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The Chief Counsel of TSA pointedly wrote that the Aviation Transportation Security Act “does not prohibit privately employed screeners from engaging in collective bargaining” and wrote that “TSA does not take any position” as to whether union officials should be granted monopoly bargaining power under the NLRA.
Mix urged President Bush to correct the TSA bureaucracy’s sudden change in policy, explaining that it not only opens the door to violations of employee freedom of association, illegal strikes, and even the possibility of terrorist infiltration of unions, but it also contradicts TSA’s earlier directives.
A 2003 directive from TSA head Admiral J.M Loy made the administration’s position clear, stating that he would not allow union officials to engage in monopoly bargaining over screeners employed by TSA due to national security concerns. And yet TSA pointedly refuses to take a position as to whether screeners employed by private companies, but supervised by TSA, may be subjected to the monopoly bargaining of union officials.
The National Right to Work Foundation filed an amicus curiae brief this month in the controversial NLRB case at issue, known as Firstline Transportation Security, in which union lawyers are attempting to persuade the Board to allow the forced unionization of screeners. The Foundation’s brief responded to a June order by the NLRB to reconsider a decision by one of the agency’s Regional Directors to apply the National Labor Relations Act to private airport screeners working at the Kansas City International Airport.
Foundation attorneys argue that granting Security, Police and Firefighters Professionals of America (SPFPA) union officials the special privilege to force airport screeners into union collectives and, ultimately, to collect compulsory union dues, would both undermine national security by destabilizing security screeners’ work environment and infringe on workers’ freedoms. The Foundation points out in its brief that, because wages, training, supervision, and working conditions of private screeners are overseen by TSA officials, no traditional “collective bargaining” could take place.
The Foundation also chronicled threats to national security from illegal strikes, work slowdowns, or even terrorist infiltration of a union to allow a bomb or hijacker to be sneaked aboard a plane.