This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) that would prohibit funds provided by a Homeland Security bill from being used by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers for collective bargaining activities. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Homeland Security Department programs.
Rokita urged support for his amendment: “Contracts and demands of collective bargaining are complex and they are cumbersome. They are less flexible than is needed in national security situations. The union demands will unquestionably make our transportation security more costly and less efficient, and certainly let's not ignore the fact that the recourse that citizens have when they are mistreated, illegally groped or otherwise not served will be reduced if it has not been made nonexistent with a union. I will work to ensure that collective bargaining does not impact the safety of any American travelers or needlessly subjects our rights or personal space to a union or its leaders.”
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) opposed the amendment: “…We have collective bargaining rights for Customs and Border Protection employees…and nowhere have we ever found where our good men and women in uniform cannot perform admirably in any situation. The record is clear: where our union employees are federalized, they do a good job. So this notion that somehow collective bargaining is incorrect or improper should not go unopposed….The men and women at TSA deserve the right to collective bargaining….Let the men and women do their job. Collective bargaining is not a bad thing for our men and women at TSA.”
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 218-205. Voting “yea” 217 Republicans and 1 Democrat. 187 Democrats and 18 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment that would prohibit funds provided by a Homeland Security bill from being used by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers for collective bargaining activities. In order for this amendment to become law, however, it would have to pass the Senate. Thus, TSA workers retained their collective bargaining rights as long as the Senate did not pass similar language. (President Obama had also threatened to veto a bill curtailing collective bargaining rights for such workers.)