After a long drawn-out battle to represent the screeners at KC Airport the National Labor Relations Board in Washington D.C. has affirmed a precedent setting decision that: private security screeners DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO UNIONIZE with The Largest 9(b)(3) Security Police Union in the nation today, SPFPA.
This decision not only affected private security screeners but also hundreds of thousands of unionized, private-sector security professionals who could have lost their bargaining rights because of national security issues. This ruling was welcomed by union leaders and labor law experts alike.
SPFPA International President David L. Hicky stated, “ This ruling was a major victory not only for the 500 KC screeners, but for private screeners working at airports, security professionals working under the Homeland Security departments of DOE, DOD, and other federal and state facilities. This was also a major victory for the labor movement nationwide”.
Steve Maritas, Director of organizing for the country’s biggest union of security police professionals union.
“We believed we were right all along. A different outcome would have had an effect on all security professionals throughout the country.we stood our ground and we won
In a ruling issued Wednesday, the five-member NLRB panel in Washington upheld the decision by its regional office in Overland Park. The ruling went against FirstLine Transportation Security Inc., which contracts with the Transportation Security Administration to provide baggage screening service at KCI.
The company and its supporters argued that private screeners should be treated the same as their federal counterparts who are not allowed to join a union because of national security concerns. The board disagreed, saying Congress in creating the TSA did not specifically prohibit private-sector employees contracted by the federal government from engaging in collective bargaining. Below is a brief summery of the NLRB ruling.
Firstline Transportation Security, Inc.
and International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professions of America (SPFPA).
June 28, 2006
DECISION ON REVIEW AND ORDER
BY CHAIRMAN BATTISTA AND MEMBERS LIEBMAN,
SCHAUMBER, KIRSANOW, AND WALSH
In this case, the Board must decide whether to assert jurisdiction over Firstline Transportation Security, Inc. (the Employer), an Ohio-based private company that provides passenger and baggage screening services at the Kansas City International Airport, in Kansas City, Missouri, pursuant to a contract with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The issue concerns the intersection of two statutes: the National Labor Relations Act  (the Act), and the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA).  The stated purposes of the Act are to encourage the practice and procedure of collective bargaining and protect employee freedom of choice in deciding whether they wish to be represented for the purposes of collective bargaining and by whom. The stated purpose of the ATSA is to improve aviation security.
On May 27, 2005, the Regional Director for Region 17 issued a Decision and Direction of Election in which he determined that the Employer is subject to the Board’s jurisdiction. Thereafter, in accordance with Section 102.67 of the Board’s Rules and Regulations, the Employer filed a timely request for review. While the Employer stipulated that it meets both the definitional and monetary jurisdictional requirements under the Board’s decision in Management Training Corp.,  it contended that the Regional Director erred in asserting jurisdiction over it because the Board is statutorily barred from doing so by the TSA’s Under Secretary James Loy’s determination that Federally-employed screeners are not entitled to engage in collective bargaining. Alternatively, the Employer argued that the Board should decline to assert jurisdiction in the interest of national security.
The election was conducted as scheduled on June 23, 2005, and the ballots were impounded pending the Board’s decision. By Order dated June 30, 2005, the Board granted the Employer’s request for review. On July 7, 2005, the Board issued a Notice and Invitation to File Briefs. On July 8, 2005, the Board’s acting solicitor wrote to the TSA’s chief counsel to solicit the TSA’s views on the case.The Employer and the Petitioner filed briefs on review. Eight amici curiae also filed briefs.  The Employer and Petitioner subsequently filed responses to the amici curiae briefs. The TSA submitted a statement and a clarification to its statement.
Having carefully considered the entire record in this proceeding, including the briefs on review, the amici curiae briefs, the response briefs, and the statement and clarification of the TSA, we conclude that we should assert jurisdiction over the Employer. We find that the Board is not statutorily barred from asserting jurisdiction over the Employer by Under Secretary Loy’s determination that Federally-employed screeners are not entitled to engage in collective bargaining. Further, in accordance with a long line of Board precedent, we do not believe that the Board should, in this case, decline to assert jurisdiction in the interest of national security. Consequently, we affirm the Regional Director’s decision for the reasons set forth.
The election was conducted as scheduled on June 23, 2005, and the ballots were impounded pending the Board’s decision. By Order dated June 30, 2005, the Board granted the Employer’s request for review. On July 7, 2005, the Board issued a Notice and Invitation to File Briefs. On July 8, 2005. On July 11, 2006, the NLRB will be opening the ballots at the Regional Office located at Farley Street – Suite 100, Overland Park, Kansas at 10: 00 a.m. All KC security screeners are welcomed to attend.
As part of SPFPA’s strategy to defend the rights of KC screeners we are asking every KC security screener to complete the enclosed SPFPA membership card in the event we should somehow lose the scheduled vote count on 7/11.
Under labor law, KC screeners would have the right to re-organize and ask for a new and speedy election within 90 days of filing a new election petition with the NLRB rather then filing objections to the election based on Firstlines conduct during the previous election which could take another year to decide.
KC Star; http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/14934323.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp
NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/30/us/30brfs-004.html?_r=2&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin
Law Memo: http://www.lawmemo.com/nlrb/memo/2006/06/nlrb_law_memo_0_27.html
Decision : http://www.lawmemo.com/nlrb/vol/347/40.htm
Security Officer Airline Response (SOAR) http://www.spfpa.org/SOAR.html