(Photo: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
After ratifying its first collective bargaining agreement with the union American Federation of Government Employees last week, the Transportation Security Administration is being criticized by some for focusing on "workplace grievances" instead of improving security.
Among the agreements made, as noted by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-FL) in a press release is that TSA officers' uniform allowances will double, leading them to have more allocated for their attire than some in the military:
Under the labor agreement, TSA employees will see their uniform allowances nearly double to $446 per year. By comparison, a combat Marine Lieutenant receives a one-time uniform allowance of $400. The cost of the increase in TSA uniform allowance is an estimated $9.63 million annually.
"Unfortunately, TSA has spent months negotiating agreements which focus on workplace grievances but ignore security performance improvements,” Mica said in a statement. The agreement will take effect on December 9.
In the TSA's statement last week about the ratification, Administrator John Pistole called the agreement a "milestone in our relationship with our workforce and AFGE." The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported Stacy Bodtmann, a TSA screener for Newark Liberty International Airport and union member, saying the ratification, which took eight months to negotiate, "feels great" and called the 17,326 to 1,774 vote a "landslide."
But Mica went on to say that the agency not only "continues to fail its employees and the American public," but he called its 65,000 employees "a bloated workforce" with "overpaid headquarters and management staff."