Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today made the following statement after the Obama Administration allowed Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel to begin the process to collectively bargain.

“I am concerned that the Administration’s proposal to give TSA employees the right to collectively bargain could hamper flexibility to respond to security threats and other challenges at a critical time. When Congress created TSA following the attacks of September 11, 2001, it wisely granted the workforce flexibility needed to respond quickly to changing circumstances. Without this ability to deploy personnel where they were needed, on a moment’s notice, airports could be critically understaffed leaving hundreds, perhaps thousands, of travelers stranded. This flexibility is essential to our homeland security. While the Administration purports to carve out certain security-related functions from collective bargaining, the scope of this exception could itself be the subject of protracted litigation, a concern that former Secretary Chertoff pointed out in a March 2007 letter to me.

“Because I recognize the contributions federal employees make to our security every day, I have been working since 2007 to try to achieve a middle ground on this issue and will continue to pursue legislation that would grant TSA employees the right to appeal adverse personnel actions to an independent agency, the Merit Systems Protection Board.”