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AFGE Celebrates Historic Increase in Pay and Rights for TSA Officers

— January 24, 2023

AFGE members at TSA have fought for two decades to achieve increased pay and collective bargaining rights. These improvements were made possible by the passage of the omnibus spending bill and a new determination.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal union representing over 44,000 TSA employees, applaud the signing of the 2023 omnibus budget bill by President Joe Biden last week, which included increased funding to improve the pay and rights of America’s Transportation Security Officers.

Approximately $398 million has been allotted to the agency to improve the pay for the working people who protect America’s skies – who are currently among the federal government’s worst-paid employees. This increase in pay would move them closer to an equivalent to the general schedule that most federal employees receive.

The budget also included $61 million to be used for hiring new employees and $94 million for retaining exit-lane employees.

A new determination was also recently issued by TSA Administrator David Pekoske. The new determination expands the bargaining rights of TSOs, including key provisions of Title 5 rights enjoyed by most other federal employees. This determination is a positive step forward for both workers and the agency itself.

“These transformational improvements to pay and rights were made possible by 20 years of activism on behalf of union members at the TSA, and I thank these AFGE leaders for their tireless efforts to remedy the shameful treatment of employees at TSA. I look forward to working closely with Administrator Pekoske and the administration to ensure the swift implementation of this new determination and pay equity to improve the quality of TSA jobs as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley.

“We also sincerely thank the members of Congress of both parties who voted to improve the conditions of TSOs, as well as TSA Administrator Pekoske for his support for improved rights and pay for TSA employees.”

A TSA checkpoint at Jon Glenn Columbus International Airport in Ohio. Image via Wikimedia Commons/user:r Michael Ball. Public domain.

Employees should expect to see an improvement in pay by July 2023. In the meantime, the move towards better pay and improved rights on the job is a positive development for an agency that has long been plagued by low retention, high turnover, and difficulties in attracting employees.

“As a Transportation Security Officer myself, I know firsthand the frustrations of the TSOs we represent. Our members work at airports across the United States, at every hour of the day, to protect our nation. For too long, that work was taken for granted,” said Hydrick Thomas, President of AFGE Council 100, which represents Transportation Security Officers.

“There’s still work to be done, but the increase in funding in the 2023 budget and the Administrator’s recent determination to improve our rights on the job shows that the issues we face are finally being taken seriously by our elected officials and the TSA Administrator. We look forward to continuing to work with Administrator Pekoske moving forward.”

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