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Union questions TSA’s incentive bonus policy

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 7:04 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - TSA officers have been working harder than ever with travel picking back up, but the American Federation of Government Employees, which acts as the TSA Union, says it has a problem with how the TSA is issuing bonuses this year.

“Now, as the year is ending, they are not being, what we believe to be adequately compensated for their work and dedication,” said Scott Robinson, American Federation of Government Employees.

This year, the TSA introduced a readiness incentive bonus which usually provides TSOs bonuses of up to $500 per month.

TSA announced changes to its Readiness Incentive Bonus, which increased the bonus amount from Dec. 19 through Jan. 15 to $1,000 Rather than the traditional end-of-year bonuses.

According to the TSA, officers would be eligible for the award as long as the officer either has perfect attendance or no unexcused absences, but Scott Robinson who serves as the TSA Union’s president, claims this new policy encouraged officers to come to work sick, and that officers who chose to stay home when sick was penalized for not receiving that extra pay.

“Every year, our officers count on this bonus in order to make their Christmas or catch up on bills,” said Robinson. “It is remarkably unfortunate that if our officers who had to stay home and take care of their family or themselves, that they did not receive bonuses throughout the year or at the end of the year.”

NBC12 reached out to the TSA for clarification. The organization countered the union’s complaints saying that as long as officers reported to their supervisors when absent, they would be eligible to receive that readiness incentive bonus.

In a statement, the TSA says that combined with other investments in award programs, in 2021 TSOs have earned more in awards this year than previous years.

“Specifically, TSA has invested nearly double the amount in monetary readiness incentives this fiscal year as compared to previous end-of-year payouts ($118M from October through January readiness incentives compared to $62M for last year),” the statement read.” “This award is part of a focus on recognizing those members of the workforce who are at the frontline providing security for the traveling public.”

But Robinson says if that is the policy, that is not how it’s currently being practiced and that a large percentage of TSA are missing holiday bonuses because of it.

The union provided NBC12 with a list of acceptable absences from the Readiness Incentive Bonus FAQ to still be eligible for the bonus. Those exceptions include the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Worker’s Compensation, and Military Leave. The union says calling out sick is not on that list.

“Our officers, being essential employees, had to come in every day to ensure that the traveling public is safe, even at the very height of the pandemic,” said Robinson.

NBC12 reached out to the TSA for further documentation to clarify the criteria that would make an officer eligible or ineligible to receive the bonus. Still, at this time, the TSA has not provided any documents.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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