The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), the largest independent federal union, representing 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments, has launched an extensive pre-holiday travel campaign to educate the public about the critical role played by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Officers in helping secure the safety of air travel. The move comes after widespread criticism of TSA screening policies and the threat of boycotts.
The campaign, which will continue through the holiday season, includes a large ad in today’s edition of USA Today, featuring an open letter to the public from NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley; an e-mail message to more than 600,000 frequent fliers; media statements; letters to the editors of some 20 newspapers; and social media outreach through Facebook.
Kelley’s open letter cites the common ground among members of the public and TSA Officers. “Most Americans understand, appreciate and respect the role these federal employees play in their travel safety. The Officers, in turn, understand and respect the concerns and needs of the public,” she writes.
The NTEU leader said the union’s effort is being spurred in part by the public reaction to a new TSA policy involving passenger pat-downs at airport screening checkpoints.
President Kelley asks people that, whatever their personal feeling about the enhanced security measures are, that in the open letterthey keep a few things in mind about the TSA workforce:
* Frontline TSA Officers did not create the new policies. Enhanced security measures were put in place by TSA. TSA Officers are charged with carrying out those measures and keeping the traveling public safe
* Not only is being a TSA Officer a difficult job, these men and women lack most of the same workplace rights a great many Americans take for granted, such as the right to collectively bargain a fair workplace contract
* TSA Officers understand the potential conflict between passenger comfort and convenience and enhanced security measures, so they strive to perform their duties in the most professional manner possible.
She emphasized NTEU’s pride in representing thousands of TSA Officers at airports, both large and small, across the country and the union’s pledge to support them in their mission of ensuring the safety of every passenger on every flight every day of the year.
“We stand by them this holiday season and ask the American public to stand by them as well and respect the difficult job they perform to protect our skies and our country,” she said.