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Myth vs. Fact on the TSA Workforce

Myth Busters


TSA's officers cannot join a union like workers at other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies.

FACT: TSOs have the right to join unions and have union representatives represent them at many types of proceedings.

Not all components within DHS have collective bargaining. The Secret Service and many offices within the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Emergency Management Agency that provide security or disaster response are not eligible for collective bargaining.


TSA officers are overworked, underpaid and unrewarded for good work. They have the lowest morale of all federal agencies, the highest attrition and on-the-job injury rates.

FACT: In FY08, 99 percent of officers received a pay for performance incentive based on their FY07 performance. The percentage of TSA officers receiving bonuses and pay raises exceeded the percentage of federal government employees receiving bonuses and pay raises under the General Schedule. Many officers received higher bonuses and raises than they would have received under the General Schedule. TSA paid out $98 million in bonuses and pay raises in 2008 as part of our pay for performance system.

The number of workplace injuries per year has fallen over 75% from FY 2004 to FY 2008, and continues to fall. A majority of TSA field employees agreed on the 2008 Organizational Satisfaction Survey that TSA had implemented programs to promote occupational safety and injury reduction.

Also in the 2008 Organizational Satisfaction Survey, 94 percent of all employees responding to the survey said that they agreed that their work was important, 82 percent agreed that they like the work that they do, and 78 percent agreed that they intended to stay at TSA for at least the next 12 months.

Voluntary attrition of full-time officers is 8.9 percent (as of 11/22/08), a drop of 46.1 percent from FY06.

Voluntary attrition of part-time officers is 19.25 percent (as of 11/22/08), a drop of 50.2 percent from FY06.


The current pay-for-performance system is a failure.

FACT: TSA's pay-for-performance system was created to meet requirements of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, which states:

... An individual employed as a security Screener may not continue to be employed in that capacity unless the evaluation demonstrates that the individual -

TSA's pay-for-performance system: