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New York TSA workers get contract boost: What does it mean for travel?

New York transportation safety officers will see improved working conditions thanks to a newly ratified contract.

The new American Federation of Government Employees and the Transportation Safety Administration agreement creates an engaging workplace for employees.

Some points in the agreement include a new grievance and arbitration process to resolve cases quicker and better leave conditions.

Mark Schumacher, chief union steward with AFGE Local 2222, said this contract will also help with employee retention.

“We have had a lot of attrition through the years,” said Schumacher. “A lot of young employees get into the TSA and then they jump to other agencies, because the pay is not commensurate with the difficult work that we do, nor are the benefits.”

Between late 2022 and mid-2023, TSA attrition rates dropped 61%, due in part to a new compensation plan.

The contract is significantly longer than the 2020 contract, with 37 total articles. It may seem like a lot, but even something like uniform rights can have meaningful impacts on these workers’ lives.

The new contract is valid for seven years, with an option to be extended for another year if both parties agree. It’s currently under review by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Schumacher noted that feedback has been highly positive to the contract. He said he’s glad this contract recognizes TSA employees’ challenging work and some conditions they do them under.

He said they have to work during government shutdowns without pay, and have had certain funds directed away from the agency.

“Those monies have been funneled off to other government agencies to pay down debt,” said Schumacher. “We just had the good news that those ticketing fees are going to be put back into TSA where they should have been and they’ll help pay our salaries. That’ll help get better technology to protect the flying public.”

More than $4 billion in fees were collected in 2023.

Some contract elements almost didn’t remain.

During the contentious federal budget process, Republican lawmakers introduced legislation to reverse pay increases for TSA workers who weren’t transportation safety officers. But, it wasn’t in the final budget.

Categories: New York StateNews