Federal Eye: TSA pick demurs on collective bargaining rights

President Obama’s pick to lead the Transportation Security Administration would not say Tuesday whether he supports collective bargaining rights
for airport security screeners. The sensitive issue ranks as a major
concern of federal worker unions but has ensnared previous TSA

If workers did ever earn collective bargaining, Retired Maj. Gen. Robert Harding told senators at the first of his two confirmation hearings, the TSA “would never bargain away security.”

TSA workers — some of the nation’s most high-profile government workers — can join unions, but they are legally blocked from
negotiating with the government under collective bargaining rules
unless the TSA administrator agrees to grant such rights.

Harding said he would study the issue further if confirmed and would be “very concerned about the implementation of such a change, if it was
to be accepted.”

“All parties agree on the necessity for the administrator to have the ability to move screeners at a moment’s notice in response or prior
to a terrorist incident,” Harding said. “Everyone seems to agree that
we need to strengthen security.”

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