President Biden’s FY23 budget supports better pay for the TSA workforce

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WASHINGTON, USA – The US president’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget submitted to Congress, Monday includes $9.70 billion for the Transportation Security Administration(TSA) – $1.4 billion more than TSA’s FY22 appropriations.

This funding, once appropriated by Congress, will support critical efforts to modernize TSA’s pay structure to ensure that TSA employees, in particular TSA’s frontline workforce, are paid at a level that is commensurate with their counterparts on the General Schedule (GS) pay scale – honoring a commitment made by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

The resources identified in the budget also would expand collective bargaining rights for Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) and dedicate more resources to security technology.

“One of the long-standing challenges at TSA has been the pay gap between TSA’s frontline workforce and their counterparts in the rest of the federal government,” said TSA administrator David Pekoske. “Equitable compensation and sufficient pay progression support TSA’s ability to meet mission requirements in the recruitment and retention of employees and positively impacts employee morale.”

Out of a total $9.70 billion in funding for TSA, the president’s FY23 budget specifically includes:
• $871 million for additional personnel compensation and benefits, which will ensure TSA employees are paid at a level that is commensurate with their counterparts in other federal agencies, starting as early as January 2023;
• $121 million to cover the cost of pay systems conversion, establish a labor relations support capability to manage expanded labor benefits for TSOs, and continue to support Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeal rights for TSOs;
• $243 million to increase the TSO workforce by 2,540 positions, which will enable the agency to meet increasing demands of passenger travel volume, while ensuring adherence to passenger wait time expectations and maintaining security effectiveness;
• $105 million for the Checkpoint Property Screening System program and $19 million for On-Person Screening Algorithm Development to improve screening capabilities, which will reliably and efficiently detect new and evolving threats to civil aviation in current property screening technology, while improving passenger experience and wait times; and
• A legislative proposal to terminate TSA’s deficit reduction contributions, which frees up an additional $1.5 billion in existing Passenger Fee collections to offset TSA’s appropriated funding.

If Congress adopts the budget, TSA’s pay equity plan provides that TSA’s TSO workforce, which has lagged behind its federal counterparts, would see an average 30% increase in base pay and federal air marshals would see an average 20% increase in base pay. Other TSA employees, such as intelligence analysts, canine handlers and non-screener administrative employees at our nation’s airports would also see an increase in base pay commensurate with their federal colleagues.

“We are grateful for the funding requests in the president’s budget, but now it is up to Congress to appropriate the funding,” Pekoske said. “Once Congress appropriates this funding, we will work hard to make this effective within 90 days of enactment.”

The funding in the FY23 budget will have a positive impact on all TSA employees – from uniformed officers, federal air marshals, canine handlers and management to administrative and professional employees, as well as security and the passenger experience.

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