What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Individuals in the Workplace : (S. 223) On an amendment that would have prohibited Transportation Security Administration workers (who oversee and enforce security measures at airports) from collectively bargaining for higher pay and better benefits. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. (2011 senate Roll Call 17)
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(S. 223) On an amendment that would have prohibited Transportation Security Administration workers (who oversee and enforce security measures at airports) from collectively bargaining for higher pay and better benefits. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration.
senate Roll Call 17     Feb 15, 2011
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) that would have prohibited Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers (who oversee and enforce security measures at airports) from collectively bargaining for higher pay and better benefits. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. (The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has regulatory authority over all civil aviation in the United States.) Wicker’s amendment also would have provided for an independent appeals process allowing TSA workers to challenge supervisors’ personnel decisions.

Wicker urged support for the amendment: “The Wicker amendment has everything to do with public safety. It has everything to do with preventing excessive litigation when it comes to the definitions of the roles of our TSA workers. It has everything to do with preventing increased deficits here in the United States and in the federal government….There is a budget debate also….Does anybody think that allowing collective bargaining for 50,000 additional Federal employees is going to cut the cost of the federal government?”

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) urged opposition to the amendment: “This is the Republicans’ first of what I worry will be a sustained attack in the 112th Congress against Federal employees. As the Senator from Maryland and for Maryland, I represent more than 130,000 Federal employees. These men and women are dedicated and duty driven. They are on the frontlines protecting America every day securing our borders inspecting our food, and performing critical health research. They deserve a decent wage, safe working conditions and our thanks and respect…. TSA currently suffers from low morale, high injury rates, and high staff turnover. Giving these employees a voice at work representing their interests will lead to a more stable, more experienced, and healthier workforce. That would increase productivity, performance, and safety for the flying public.”

The Senate rejected this amendment by a vote of 47-51. All 47 Republicans voted “yea.” All 51 Democrats present voted “nay.” As a result, the Senate rejected an amendment that would have prohibited Transportation Security Administration workers from collectively bargaining for higher pay and better benefits.

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