WASHINGTON -- The American Federation of Government Employees is renewing its call for adequate staffing throughout TSA after the union received a high number of complaints from Transportation Security Officers across the country with concerns of gender biases surrounding scheduling and shift-bidding.
"There are overtones of gender discrimination throughout the nation's airports, and AFGE has heard from enough TSOs to raise our concern level to one involving a possible Wal-Mart-style class action lawsuit," AFGE National President John Gagesaid. "We have been monitoring this situation for years, and it unfortunately only seems to be getting worse."
For example, in a number of airports, female TSOs are being forced from their baggage screening position to the checkpoints because of the male to female ratio needed for passenger screening. This affects not only scheduling, but also seniority and pay.
"Here you have a prime example of a reactive management, rather than one that is proactive," Gage said. "TSA has had nine years to figure out what is the right percentage of female officers. Instead of recruiting and hiring from a pool of new female hires, management is forcing all of its current employees to scramble for a solution. TSA's approach only serves to further demoralize an already stressed workforce, and to create a disruption in morale and service.
"AFGE is conducting an investigation into what our TSOs believe may be agency-wide gender bias," Gage added. "Whether or not this constitutes legal discrimination, it still is a very serious issue that TSA management must address."
AFGE is the only union to represent TSOs since the agency's inception, and currently has more than 12,000 dues-paying members in 40 AFGE TSA Locals across the country. With more than 265,000 dues-paying members in more than 75 federal and D.C. government agencies, AFGE is the single largest federal employee union in the country.
AFGE is the largest federal employee union representing 625,000 workers in the federal government and the government of theDistrict of Columbia, including tens of thousands of DHS employees in Border Patrol, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FEMA, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Federal Protective Service, Office of Immigration Statistics and TSA.