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TSA screeners could get union rights

A TSA employee searches the luggage of a United Airlines passenger at a security checkpoint at San Francisco International Airport August 10, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: I don't know if you read the 9/11 Commission's report. It's a pretty big book. But you're probably aware that the commission made some recommendations. Today, the House votes on a bill that would turn those suggestions into reality. One amendment would allow airport baggage screeners to bargain together as union members over their working conditions. More now from Nancy Marshall Genzer.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: The amendment repeals a legislative footnote that's been a thorn in the side of organized labor for years.

The footnote let the Transportation Security Administration decide on unionized bargaining for airport screeners.

The TSA said no, because unions would tie its hands in emergencies. Homeland Security Spokesman Russ Knocke:

RUSS KNOCKE: We face an enemy that is intent on finding vulnerabilities in our society and attacking those vulnerabilities.

But unions say the government can void contracts in emergencies. John Gage of the American Federation of Government Employees says screeners need union protection against bosses who use scare tactics.

JOHN GAGE: Just bullying people and forcing overtime on very short notice.

Now, the screeners have to get in line like everybody else and see what Congress does.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer, for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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