TSA, union reach deal on historic, first contract

Thursday - 8/2/2012, 10:06am EDT

This story was updated at 1:25 p.m. Aug. 2 to include comments from AFGE and TSA.

The Transportation Security Administration and the union representing the nation's 45,000 transportation security officers reached a deal early Thursday for the employees' first-ever labor contract.

The agreement will be submitted to the officers for ratification in the coming weeks, according to a statement from the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the security officers.

"If ratified, the agreement will represent the culmination of a 10-year effort by AFGE, first to assist the employees in gaining the right to join a union and then to win a contract," the AFGE said.

No details of the agreement were immediately available, according to the statement.

But AFGE President John Gage said the contract will provide for "increased uniformity on fair treatment," flexibility in scheduling and a new dispute resolution process.

"This new procedure will enhance fairness and due process for TSOs," Gage said. "Independent, third-party review is a right that ensures transparency and will improve the working lives of our officers."

Last year, Gage told Federal News Radio one of the biggest union concerns was pay. He said TSOs' base wage is about $5,000 less than with the General Schedule.

AFGE TSA Council 100 President Kim Kraynak-Lambert said in a statement that the agreement does not affect the level of security at airports.

"In fact, this agreement will strengthen our ability to carry out TSA's vital mission of protecting the American people," Kraynak-Lambert said.

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

"We look forward to a review of the agreement by our covered employees," Pistole said in a statement.

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

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