Public Sector Unionization: Understanding the Rise in Membership Rates and Impact on Homeland Security
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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Public sector union membership rolls will swell by over 40,000 Transportation Security Officers TSO as the Transportation Security Administration TSA embarks on transitioning to a unionized screener workforce. Proponents argue that screening operations will be in jeopardy as poor performing screeners will be difficult to remove for cause, attention will be focused on union issues rather than security measures, and the threat of work slowdown or unofficial strikes if union demands are not met could have nationwide economic repercussions. The TSA organizing as a unionized workforce has parallel similarities to another unionized aviation industry federal agency--the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization PATCO. Disgruntled with years of attempted bargaining between PATCO and the Federal Aviation Association FAA, PATCO staged an unofficial work strike in August 1981 that temporarily halted air traffic in the United States. As airlines were forced to cancel flights, this strike brought national attention to the impacts that federalized workers can have on national security and the economy. Federal agencies with national and homeland security responsibilities must remain operationally agile. The economic devastation resulting from a TSA work strike could potentially cripple the complex transportation network of aviation, rail, pipeline, highway, cargo, maritime and mass transit.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Civil Defense