Skip to content
May 03, 2019

Homeland Security Democrats Urge TSA to Continue to Allow Collective Bargaining for its Frontline Workforce

TSA ranked last out of all 410 Federal agency subcomponents on employee pay satisfaction

(WASHINGTON) – All 18 Democrats on the House Committee on Homeland Security, led by Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) and Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee Chairman Lou Correa (D-CA), sent a letter to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator David Pekoske urging him to continue to allow collective bargaining for TSA employees. At the Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security’s budget hearing on April 9th, Administrator Pekoske refused to commit to continue allowing collective bargaining at TSA after the current collective bargaining agreement expires in December.

In a letter on Thursday, Committee Democrats highlighted TSA’s existing attrition problem – as well as employee pay dissatisfaction – and how not allowing for collective bargaining would only exacerbate the current workforce retention challenges.

Excerpts from the letter:

TSA cannot secure the Nation’s transportation systems effectively without a well-trained and experienced frontline workforce. Unfortunately, TSA has struggled to recruit, train, and retain the skilled cadre of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) needed to meet its mission.

TSA’s attrition problem is driven in part by employee dissatisfaction with pay, benefits, and rights. In 2018, according to employee surveys, TSA ranked dead last out of 410 Federal agency subcomponents on employee pay satisfaction.  The government shutdown earlier this year made clear that many TSOs live paycheck to paycheck, and TSOs do not enjoy standard workplace benefits and rights afforded to most other Federal workers. Limited pay, benefits, and rights contribute to a level of attrition that not only wastes resources but affects security, as a constantly changing workforce cannot develop the experience needed to operate effectively. Attrition poses a security risk, and TSA must address it as a top priority.

Given TSA’s workforce retention challenges, we were surprised and concerned by your refusal to commit at the hearing to continuing to allow collective bargaining past December 2019. Collective bargaining provides an important avenue to addressing systemic workforce issues like those identified by the DHS OIG and employee surveys. Continuing to allow collective bargaining is critical to improving retention.

Link to Full Letter

#  #  #

Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978