LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Transportation Security Administration agents rallied and picketed at LAX Saturday afternoon.
CBS2’s Rebecca Ferriter says the union is calling for a new contract and higher wages.
Many people at the rally also told Ferriter morale on the job is at an all-time low.
It started with chanting.
“What do we want? A fair contract. When do we want it? Now,” the agents yelled.
Wearing their union t-shirts, members of the AFGE held signs and demanded a new contract.
And they chanted some more .
“TSA you’re no good. Treat your workers like you should.”
“You know, my belief is you reward a worker with pay, we’re here to get paid and we’re here to do our job, said Bobby Orozco, president of AFGE Local 1260.
He said wages for agents have to improve. The average salary for a TSA security officer is $40,000 a year, he said. Orozco said that is also much less than other federal employees.
“We love what we do. We’re here to support the mission. We want to get it done and we want to keep the traveling public safe,” Orozco said.
The current AFGE-TSA contract expires on December 9.
The union doesn’t want the workers working without a contract and they’re demanding management negotiate fairly.
“We’re in the midst of contract negotiations and rather than try to boost up and give us the basic rights that other people having are entitled to, they want to strip away even the little pay that we have,” said Stacy Bodmann, a security officer.
Bodmann says she puts her life on the line to protect travelers. Just last week, TSA agents found 46 guns in passenger carry-ons at US airports. They also seized numerous knives and ammunition — even a sword and a grenade.
Ferriter asked the TSA for a comment but did not hear back.
According to the LA Mayor’s office, a record 2 million people are expected tp pass through LAX this Thanksgiving weekend. And in light of recent terror attacks abroad, union reps say working conditions and pay for TSA workers need to improve now more than ever.
“We want to be treated like all other federal employees. We want to be able to have a secure workplace, so we can secure the public,” says Orozco.
Similar TSA rallies are planned at airports around the nation in the coming weeks.