WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government will grant collective bargaining rights to the nation's 40,000 airport screeners, the head of the largest federal workers union said Friday.
John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told The Associated Press he was informed of the decision at a meeting with John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration.
TSA workers have tried for nearly a decade to win the same union protections as other federal employees, but Republican opponents have balked over worries that union demands could jeopardize national security or slow response times in a crisis.
Union officials call those arguments an insult to the hundreds of thousands of public safety officers that already have collective bargaining rights, including Border Patrol agents, firefighters and the Capitol police.
"Today marks the recognition of a fundamental human right for 40,000 patriotic federal employees who have been disenfranchised since the inception of the agency," Gage said.
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