The Federal Labor Relations Authority yesterday set the Transportation Security Administration’s runoff election to begin May 23. The voting period will end June 21, and the votes will be tallied June 23.
The election will decide whether the American Federation of Government Employees or the National Treasury Employees Union will represent some 43,000 TSA screeners. The first vote — a three-way campaign between AFGE, NTEU and “no union” — ended inconclusively when nobody received a clear majority.
The first election’s results were very close, with AFGE received 274 more votes than NTEU. Voters will not have the option of selecting “no union” in the runoff election. Like the first election, screeners voting in the runoff will cast their ballots over the phone or online. FLRA will mail election packages to screeners May 23, which will include instructions and identification numbers necessary to vote.
Both unions’ leaders say they expect to win the runoff. AFGE’s John Gage said:
AFGE won the first round of a fierce contest against a worthy opponent. We expect to win the runoff election as well and are pleased that FLRA has cleared the way for a swift resolution to this process. I’m asking TSOs to come out and vote for us one more time. We’re one step closer to bringing you a better workplace.
NTEU’s Colleen Kelley said:
NTEU looks forward to the runoff election. We are confident our record of accomplishments and our program for their future will lead TSA officers to elect NTEU to help them improve their work lives and their workplaces. We have got the momentum. It is a dead heat, and we are going to pull ahead.
The Chicago regional director of the Federal Labor Relations Authority today denied the American Federation of Government Employees’ bid for an election to determine which union will represent Transportation Security Administration employees.
The regional FLRA upheld its previous determination that because TSA screeners do not have collective bargaining rights, it has no jurisdiction to process the petition for an election. AFGE said it will appeal to the full FLRA within 60 days.
AFGE and the National Treasury Employees Union are each seeking to represent roughly 40,000 TSA screeners. NTEU has filed a similar petition with FLRA.
Still a little fuzzy on how these labor-management partnerships are supposed to work? You might want to sign up for new training courses that will be offered in May and June by the Federal Labor Relations Authority and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
FLRA and FMCS said yesterday that the two-day training programs are meant to teach federal managers and labor representatives about bargaining rights and obligations. Day One of each session will cover bargaining rights and obligations, including pre-decisional discussions and so-called permissive subjects.
Day Two will teach you how to set up and maintain an effective labor-management forum. That includes designing the forum, setting agendas, making decisions agreeable to both parties, and other techniques.
Washington will get two training sessions in this first round — one May 25 and 26, and another June 2 and 3. Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Oakland will each get one session this time — dates and a registration form can be found here.
FLRA and FMCS plan to hold another round of training between July and September, but have not settled on the dates.
Training sessions will be free, but act fast — each session will be limited to 18 two-person teams (one manager and one labor representative). FLRA said it’s important for both parties to attend so they have a common understanding of what will be required of them.
President Barack Obama on Feb. 19 selected Carol Waller Pope to be the acting chairwoman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority. Pope has been an FLRAÂ member since 2000.
In a statement released today, Pope thanked Obama for the appointment and pledged to fulfill FLRA’s mission of setting labor-management policy and settling disputes between unions and agencies:
I believe that the work of the FLRA is important and that its mission to establish and implement policies and guidance that enhance the stability of labor-management relations in the federal government is critical to furthering the public interest in effective operations throughout the government.