Prez Bam pledges to organize TSA

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Federal unions to be rewarded by Dems

President-elect Barack Obama said he will expand family leave, flexible work schedule and teleworking benefits to federal employees; roll back controversial pay-for-performance systems; review current outsourcing policies; and give collective-bargaining rights to Transportation Security Administration employees.

In a series of late-October letters to John Gage, the national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, Obama sounded off on numerous issues and policies. The union released the letters today.

“While I strongly believe that workers can and should be rewarded for high quality work, the administration’s failure to fund the [pay-for-performance] initiative guaranteed that rewarding one employee would be at the expense of another,” Obama said in a letter on Homeland Security Department issues. “This is unfair and serves to reduce morale, rather than improve it.”

In another letter, Obama said getting TSA screeners collective-bargaining rights “will be a priority for my administration” and a means to better workplace conditions and cut down on TSA’s high attrition. “It is unacceptable for [transportation security officers] to work under unfair rules and without workplace protections,” he wrote.
Obama also wrote that he may dismantle TSA’s pay-for-performance system, the Performance Accountability and Standards System, if he finds it is unfair and not transparent, and put TSA employees back on the General Schedule.

In a September letter to AFGE and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Obama said he might alter or repeal the Defense Department’s National Security Personnel System (NSPS).

Obama also expressed doubts that the Bush administration’s outsourcing efforts are saving the government money, and said his administration will review work that is contracted out.

In a letter addressing Housing and Urban Development Department issues, Obama wrote that “it is dishonest to claim real savings by reducing the number of HUD employees overseeing a program but increase the real cost of the program by transferring oversight to contractors. I pledge to reverse this poor practice.”

He said he would favor hiring more staff at the Social Security Administration to help it confront a large backlog of disability claims.

Obama wrote that he supports efforts to bring paid family leave, flexible work schedules and increased teleworking to the federal government.

“It’s time we stopped talking about family values and started pursuing policies that truly value families ... with the federal government leading by example,” Obama said.


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