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Union Seeks to Represent Airport Screeners

September 17, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A union seeking to organize the government’s airport screeners appealed a court ruling denying them collective bargaining rights.

The American Federation of Government Employees challenged a Sept. 5 ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that said a federal administrator should decide whether the screeners have the right to collectively bargain.

The Transportation Security Administration, which employs 49,600 full-time airport security screeners, banned collective bargaining by any screeners. TSA head James Loy said he was concerned a labor contract could hinder efforts to quickly make staffing changes in response to a terrorism threat.

About 6,500 screeners have signed cards expressing interest in having the union represent them, and about 1,000 of them affiliated with the union, with dues deducted from their pay checks. But the union cannot negotiate for working conditions or salaries.

The union took its case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday, contending the government was violating the First Amendment as well as the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which created the Transportation Security Administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Separately, the union is filing a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging TSA violated the Constitution when it fired Jim Ferace, a screener at Pittsburgh International Airport, for his union activities. Ferace was the union’s named plaintiff in its original suit.

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On the Net:

http://www.tsa.gov

http://www.afge.org

www.screenersunion.org

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