Markey has been there for TSA workers

Senator has always had our back; we'll have his in election

DURING THE GOVERNMENT shutdown of December 2018, as politicians in Washington sparred over border security funding, TSA workers in Massachusetts went weeks without a paycheck. Our officers were unjustly treated as political pawns and forced to stress out about whether or not they would be able to afford rent, feed their families, or even pay to commute to work.

For these officers, political decisions had real-life consequences. Many could not pay their bills on time. Officers had to find a way to keep the heat on during a cold Massachusetts winter. Grocery budgets were slashed and reworked, mortgage payments weighed heavy on their shoulders, and some looked into applying for loans to make up the difference.

I know, I am one of them.

When decisions are made in Washington, it can often feel like our political leaders have forgotten that their actions impact the bottom line of average Americans. Choices made on Capitol Hill threw our officers, and their families, into the middle of a political fight that had nothing to do with airline security. Our union had to find a way to restore fair treatment for our TSA officers and get them the paychecks they deserved.

When we were faced with this challenge, it was Sen. Ed Markey who brought attention to our situation by speaking up for us and fighting for us in the US Senate. He and his staff were there for our officers when it mattered most. He came to our airports to see for himself how we were being affected. He listened to our stories of hardship and his staff followed through on all of our requests for assistance.

Following the shutdown, Sen. Markey introduced legislation that would ensure that the TSA has access to September 11 Security Fee revenue, giving the federal government the much-needed flexibility to pay workers in the event of a future shutdown. These funds are vital to reassure TSA officers that a disaster like this will not happen again.

Sen. Markey did not just stand with our union and its members while working to reopen the government, he followed up to make sure we are not victimized again the next time a government shutdown occurs. Now, it is time for the Senate leadership to put his legislation to a vote.

Growing up in Malden, Sen. Markey knows the experiences of working families. He knows the struggle to put food on the table and keep the heat on throughout the winter. With each decision and vote Sen. Markey takes, he has the best interests of our union members and families in mind. This is where he comes from.

As the son of a union leader, he learned the power of solidarity from a young age, and has carried these lessons with him throughout his career. He has stood on picket lines, supported striking workers, and fought for dignified work for every person, regardless of where they come from or how much money they earn.

Since the creation of the TSA, Sen. Markey has made it his mission to fight for legislation that furthers our best interests. He has worked to pass key aviation security measures that increase the security of both passengers and TSA officers and successfully increased funding to strengthen and support the TSA and its workforce.

Meet the Author
After the September 11 attacks, the American public united around the phrase, “Never forget.” We never forget the brave people and first responders who died that day as their legacy lives on almost 20 years later. But Sen. Markey understands that “Never forget” is more than just a slogan – it means that we must continually recommit to the safety of our passengers, the public, and aviation professionals.

Sen. Markey understands that TSA officers go to work every day to protect the safety of the American public. He knows that our officers are dedicated to the mission of ensuring aviation security, and I feel confident knowing that Sen Markey has our back. I look forward to having his as I head to the ballot box this September.

Mike Gayzagian is president of AFGE Local 2617, the union representing TSA officers in Boston.