”We don`t expect disruptions due to the need for vaccination,” Weitzner said. ”We`ve made great strides in our vaccination efforts, and as we approach the November 22 deadline, we see this not so much as a cliff as a step to further advise unvaccinated employees.” ”The TSA has submitted a plan to the DHS secretary`s office to improve the compensation framework for TSA employees,” a spokeswoman for the agency said in an email to the Federal News Network. ”The plan ensures that TSA employees are paid at least than their peers on the general schedule scale and their longevity-based salary evolution. The TSA will continue its work on compensation as part of the budget process in the coming months. Today, the TSA has 603 employees with active cases of COVID-19, according to the agency. A total of 10,003 TSA employees have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, and 23 workers have died from complications related to COVID-19. In September 2012, ABC News interviewed former TSA agent Pythias Brown, who admitted to stealing more than $800,000 worth of articles while working at the agency. Brown explained that it was ”very convenient to fly” and that poor morale within the agency prompted officers to steal passengers.  In order to search baggage without passengers for security reasons, the TSA will otherwise cut or disable locks that it cannot open itself.
The agency has allowed two companies to create padlocks, lockable straps and luggage with built-in locks that can be opened and closed by tools and information provided to the TSA by lock manufacturers. These are travel sentry and Safe Skies Locks.  TSA agents sometimes cut off these locks instead of opening them, and the TSA received more than 3,500 complaints about locks that were tampered with in 2011.  Christopher Elliott, a travel journalist and editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler, describes these locks as ”useless” to protect the goods they contain, while SmarterTravel wrote in early 2010 that ”the jury is modest about their effectiveness” while noting how easy they are to open.  The Transportation Security Administration, like the rest of the federal workforce, was up to 22 years old. November to prove that they are fully vaccinated or to request a religious or medical exemption. Everett Kelley, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the TSA`s 50,000 transportation security officers, told a panel of the House Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday that the deadline would hurt morale and provide a distraction for workers during their busiest time of the year. He reiterated the union`s request to extend the deadline to Jan. 4 to align it with the date for federal contractors and give workers more time to consider their options.
Private contractors must follow the same rules and procedures as their TSA counterparts, but have some leeway in determining how they occupy checkpoints. Workers wear different uniforms, but their education, salary, and benefits are pretty much the same. The starting salary of a TSA official is $37,455, but may be higher in some parts of the country depending on staffing needs and living expenses. In July 2018, a case heard by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that TSA agents are not ”investigators or law enforcement officers” and are therefore not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The case extended to a woman who had been arrested and arrested by the TSA in 2006, but later the criminal charges were acquitted by the court; She had sought damages under the FTCA for damages related to the false arrest and related matters.  Rep. Carlos Giminez, R-Fla., the lead Republican on the Transportation and Marine Safety Committee that hosted Tuesday`s hearing, said he could not understand how the TSA could adequately staff its checkpoints without its unvaccinated staff. When Congress created the TSA nearly 20 years ago, it explicitly excluded TSOs from the General Schedule salary range and the Title 5 personnel system under which many other — but not all — federal employees are now classified. In 2012, a number of people, including TSA employees, were arrested at the Los Angeles airport after being found to be part of a drug gang.  ”The impact on morale of federal employees who are subject to possible disciplinary action at this time of year cannot be overemphasized,” Kelley said in his written statement. ”TSOs should focus on protecting the flying public during this peak travel season, not the threat of discipline that could result in the loss of their jobs.” However, studies conducted by the Government Accountability Office reveal that, in some cases, the cost to private contractors was 2 to 19 percent lower than tsa estimates of the cost of performing the same work. The GAO also said the TSA`s calculations did not take into account costs such as pension benefits.
But Greg Regan, secretary and treasurer of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, a coalition of 32 unions, argued that security checks should be left to the federal government. As a result, federal screening officers and air marshals are often paid at a much lower level than their government-wide counterparts – salaries for entry-level screening officers start at an average of $35,000 per year and can reach $29,000 per year – and employee retention is an ongoing challenge. According to the 2020 Federal Employee Perspective Survey, TSA ranked last in terms of salary satisfaction, ranking 407th among the agency`s subcomponents. The agency is currently working to fill about 2,000 front-line vacancies. I am pleased that this bipartisan bill was passed by the House of Representatives today. Transportation security officers ensure the safety of the American people on a daily basis, and they should have the same federal worker protections as other federal employees under Title 5 of the U.S. Code,” Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement. Tsa employees` salaries are currently covered by an SV rating system that defines its employees` pay ranges on an A-to-M scale. They continue to be paid by their employers and continue to work according to their agreements with the screening companies. A 2013 report by the Department of Homeland Security`s Office of the Inspector General accused the TSA of using criminal investigators to do the work of lower-paid employees and wasting millions of dollars a year.  The TSA continued its work during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.
As of December 31, 2020, the TSA had 759 employees actively infected with COVID-19 staying at home. The TSA cumulatively tested 4,978 federal employees positive for COVID-19: 4,219 of these employees recovered and 12 died from the virus.  The TSA maintains a table of the number of TSA employees confirmed with COVID-19 at each airport and their last business day at that airport.  The number of air passengers passing through TSA checkpoints in 2020 is also reported, with the number of passengers accounting for about one-fifth of their number from June 2019 to June 2020 and about one-fifth of their number from December 2019 to December 2020.  Critics of the TSA often cite the agency as ”ineffective, invasive, incompetent, inexcusably costly, or all four” as reasons for its abolition. Those who want to abolish TSA have cited improving the efficiency and cost of testing provided by qualified private companies in accordance with federal guidelines.  The TSA was created largely in response to the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, which revealed vulnerabilities in existing airport security procedures.  At that time, a large number of private security companies managed air transport security on behalf of individual airlines or groups of airlines using a particular airport or terminal.  Proponents of the government`s focus on airport security, including Transport Minister Norman Mineta, argued that a single federal agency could better protect passenger aviation…