The Pitfalls of Unionizing the TSA

Robert Verbruggen wrote recently about the downside of unionizing the TSA in the National Review, taking issue with the Obama Administration’s decision to allow the agency to unionize even though past TSA heads regarded unionization as a threat to national security.  As he notes, “after a mere nine years in existence, the Transportation Security Administration rivals the DMV and the Postal Service as a played-out comedy cliché. And now the TSA is adding union bureaucracy to the mix.”   As he notes, unionization has made matters worse at other federal agencies:

“Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) — which, unlike the FBI, CIA, and Secret Service, is a federal law-enforcement agency that allows collective bargaining — illustrates the problem with letting unions interfere in disciplinary matters: The agency got into an arbitration war over how it could discipline an employee who literally fell asleep on the job.  Worse, CBP lost. And the websites of NTEU and AFGE are already competing to see which one can provide the longer list of TSA disciplinary actions it has overturned. (Before the determination instituted collective bargaining, TSA agents were nonetheless allowed to join unions if they wanted, and about 13,000 did.)”

We earlier wrote about additional downsides to allowing unionization at this link.  One writer’s mistreatment at the hands of the TSA is chronicled at this link.

The TSA is already not terribly effective.  (Undercover agents have managed to slip bombs past TSA screeners, and the TSA is even less effective at detecting them than the private security firms it replaced after 9/11).  The AFGE union predicted on January 21 that voting to unionize the TSA will begin by mid-March.