Sen. Carper Cosponsors Bill to Protect Veterans’ Employment Rights at TSA

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would help protect the employment rights of veterans, Reservists and National Guardsman who work at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – making the agency a more viable and attractive job prospect for veterans returning to the civilian workforce. The bill, S. 1990, would amend the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 to ensure TSA is subject to the provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. The agency employs about 3,500 Reservists and 15,000 veterans.

Currently, the TSA is exempt from complying with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which protects civilian job rights and benefits for veterans, Reservists, and National Guardsman who are called up to active duty. TSA was originally not required to comply with the Act, along with other civil service and workforce protections, in order to provide the new agency with flexibility to quickly hire a workforce. Without a change in statute, veterans, Reservists, and National Guardsman may not receive the same employee protections as other TSA employees and have little recourse to challenge TSA employment decisions. This new legislation would change that out-dated exemption. If passed, TSA would have 270 days to implement the change.

“As our service men and women return to the civilian workforce after serving our country in the military, we have a responsibility to ensure that they have the proper resources and support to re-enter the workforce, particularly in this difficult economic environment,” said Sen. Carper, a veteran. “The Transportation Security Administration is a vital and growing agency that currently employs thousands of our veterans and Reservists. It has the potential to employ thousands more, yet unfair loopholes, recruitment obstacles and a lack of employment rights discourages well-qualified veterans and military personnel from applying to the agency. This bill takes the right – and fair – steps to extend employment protections to cover our nation’s heroes.”

The legislation was introduced by Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) in December and is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 20 Senators. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion support the legislation.