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May 12, 2022

House Passes Legislation to Improve Conditions for TSA’s Frontline Workforce

H.R. 903 would finally put TSA under title 5 of the U.S. Code, providing better pay and full collective bargaining rights

(WASHINGTON) – Today, by a bipartisan vote of 220 to 201, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Rights for the TSA Workforce Act of 2022 (H.R. 903), legislation sponsored by Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, to improve working conditions for the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) workforce.

The Rights for the Transportation Security Administration Workforce Act of 2022 will provide all 60,000 TSA employees – including frontline Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) – the same worker rights and protections afforded to other Federal workers under title 5 of the U.S. Code. This includes full Federal employee collective bargaining rights, access to an independent third party for dispute resolution, and improved compensation under the General Schedule wage system.

Passage of this legislation is critical even as the Biden Administration has made and proposed significant reforms at TSA. Under the Biden Administration, in September 2021, TSA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Merit Systems Protection Board to provide fair disciplinary appeal rights to frontline workers. The Administration’s FY2023 budget request includes funding for pay increases and expanded collective bargaining. Earlier this week, the Biden Administration expressed strong support for H.R. 903, marking the first time an administration has supported legislation to bring TSA under title 5.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, TSA Transportation Security Officers have risked their health and safety to keep our skies safe. And yet, for twenty years TSOs have been unable to access the same workforce rights afforded to other Federal employees – and are among the lowest paid. The pay, protections, and benefits for TSA’s workforce must reflect the importance of the work they do to protect the homeland,” said Chairman Thompson. “It’s long past time that we place this critical workforce under title 5 to provide better pay and full collective bargaining rights. Doing so will reduce attrition, boost morale, and improve and professionalize the TSA workforce. Codifying these rights in law is the right thing to do for TSA’s 60,000 workers – and the right thing to do for national security. I am thankful for the support and input of the Biden Administration and stakeholders in crafting this legislation. I look forward to working with the Senate to ensure this bill’s passage and get it to President Biden’s desk for his signature.”

 “In recent months, we’ve seen an alarming rise in gun seizures at airports. If not for our Transportation Security Officers, these weapons could have made it onto planes and endangered the lives of passengers,” added original cosponsor and Transportation & Maritime Security Subcommittee Chairwoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ). “TSOs are responsible for keeping our skies safe, yet they are among the Federal government's lowest paid employees. They deserve better, which is why I proudly cosponsored for the Rights for the Transportation Security Administration Workforce Act of 2022. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that our hard-working TSOs have the same fundamental workplace protections as other Federal employees.”

H.R. 903 Fact Sheet

Updated H.R. 903 Bill Text

Chairman Thompson’s Floor Statement on H.R. 903

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