Letter of Support: TSA Efficiency and Flexibility Act

July 25, 2011 J

Dear Senator Wicker and Representative Rokita,

On behalf of more than 1.7 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I applaud your recent introduction of the TSA Efficiency and Flexibility Act (S. 1353/H.R. 2507), to add Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers to the list of federal employees statutorily prohibited from collective bargaining, while taking care to ensure their employment rights are duly protected by other, more effective means.

TSA Administrator John Pistole recently reversed a decade-old precedent that prohibited collective bargaining for the agency’s employees. Then he used a dubious procedure to allow a mere one-fifth of the agency’s 44,000 employees to impose American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) unionization on the rest.

Policymakers have long recognized the damage collective bargaining can do in the public sector, where taxpayers are forced to pay the price for escalating union demands, and dues are funneled back into the political process in a vicious cycle of ever higher spending. By imposing overly restrictive work rules, extreme protections for poorly-performing employees, and deeply divisive contract negotiating procedures, collective bargaining introduces a heavy dose of waste and inefficiency into public service.

These issues are especially grave in the TSA context, because of the significant implications for our nation’s security. Responding to national security threats requires flexibility and unity of purpose of a kind that is entirely at odds with the slow and often adversarial collective bargaining process. These concerns are precisely why Congress excluded other security officials from collective bargaining, including military personnel, FBI and CIA agents, and the Secret Service.

While collective bargaining for any public employees is a questionable public policy, at a minimum TSA employees belong in the class of security officials who are excluded for obvious reasons.

I urge your colleagues to support S. 1353 and H.R. 2507, and I look forward to working with you in the future.


James Valvo
Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Prosperity

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