Collective Bargaining Has Hurt Border Patrol, TSA Shouldn't Make Same Mistake

In light of the Christmas terror attempt, we must make sure that our airport security is as strong as possible. Unfortunately, Democrats in the Senate appear intent on confirming a new leader for the Transporation Security Administration (TSA), that would presumably make good on President Obama’s campaign promise to union bosses that he’d force TSA into collective bargaining even though it would weaken our security. [A nominee who has also submitted false testimony to Congress about improperly accessing private background information.] If that were to happen, the same union bureaucracy that has crippled the American auto industry and made service at Post Offices the punch line to jokes could soon be a way of life at America’s airports.

If TSA were forced to collectively bargain with union bosses it could weaken security by:

  • Requiring TSA to get union bosses permission before implementing security and workforce changes. If the unions decided the changes were too burdensome on their employees, weeks or months of negotiations could ensue, causing unacceptable delays in implementing new safety protocols.
  • Requiring TSA managers to promote based on seniority, not merit, and making it more difficult to discipline failing employees.
  • Requiring TSA to share sensitive intelligence information to third parties during negotiations with union bosses, making future leaks of classified material more likely.

Democrats have responded by pointing out that the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) allows collective bargaining, and if it works for the border agents, why not TSA? The answer is that collective bargaining is not working for CBP, its weakening their ability to keep us secure. Setting aside the obvious, that this agency has struggled to fulfill its mission as there are 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S., CBP has had numerous problems with collective bargaining. Take these four recent examples of the agency being forced to negotiate with unions that took months to resolve:

  1. Arbitration with unions over how and whether CBP can discipline employees who fall asleep on the job. (CBP lost)
  2. Arbitration with unions over whether CBP has to negotiate with the union on how much training an officer who fails the firearm exam needs. (CBP lost)
  3. Arbitration unions over whether CBP can investigate (just investigate, not discipline) officers who get into an off-duty fight. (CBP eventually won)
  4. Arbitration over whether CBP has to negotiate with Unions on the re-assignment of personnel, an issue that would likely arise as TSA as well. (CBP lost)

So, union bosses litigated for months – sometimes years – against the CBP to prevent them from disciplining employees that sleep on the job, retraining failing officers, investigating officers for violence, and reassigning personnel to higher priority posts. And this is the system Democrats want to implement at the TSA when the agency is already struggling to stop terrorists? It makes no sense to weaken our airport security just to reward campaign donors from the last election. Lets keep our focus at TSA on security, not politics.