TSA workers ratify first union contract

Friday - 11/9/2012, 12:35pm EST

A historic labor agreement covering 45,000 transportation security officers has been ratified.

In August, the federal union American Federation of Government Employees and the Transportation Security Administration reached a deal on the first-ever union contract for TSOs, who are responsible for screening people and baggage at the nation's airports.

The final vote was 17,326 to 1,774.

"This agreement will mean better working conditions, fair evaluation practices and safer workplaces, and in doing so, it will improve morale. This is important because low morale leads to unsafe levels of attrition in an agency where a stable, professional workforce of career employees is vital to its national security mission," said J. David Cox, AFGE president, in a statement.

The contract that AFGE and TSA agreed to included increasing the uniform allowance from $232 to $317 per year, as well as providing three pairs of pants and three shirts at no cost.

TSOs will also have more consistency on annual leave bidding and shift trades, according to a release from the union.

The ratification of the contract represents the culmination of 11 years of organizing efforts, AFGE said.

At that time, TSA Administrator John Pistole said the agreement represents a "significant milestone" in the agency's relationship with its employees.

AFGE is the largest federal employee union, representing 650,000 federal employees.

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