Neither federal union vying to represent 44,000 Transportation Security Administration employees received a majority vote. The union election will go into a run-off in the next few weeks.
The National Treasury Employees Union received 8,095 votes and the American Federal of Government Employees received 8,369 votes. 3,111 TSA employees voted not to have a union, according to the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
The tally comes after a six-week telephone and online voting period that ended Tuesday. The unions will meet Thursday morning to work out run-off election details, FLRA said in a statement.
NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a press conference she believed more people would vote in the run-off.
Both unions issued statements expressing confidence it could win in the run-off election.
“NTEU is widely known and highly-respected for having the best on-the-ground representation and negotiating the best contracts in the federal sector,” Kelly said in a statement.
Regardless of which union workers choose, the votes show that transportation security officers do want a union.
“By voting for a voice at work, TSOs have demonstrated that when American workers are given a choice – without intensive intimidation campaigns – they want a union,” said John Gage, AFGE president.
TSA Administrator John Pistole said in a statement that security is one issue that will not be negotiated.
Pistole agreed in February to grant screeners limited collective bargaining rights for the first time since the agency was formed a decade ago. The agency would allow negotiations related to employment, including shift bids, transfers and awards.
Federal News Radio’s Ruben Gomez and the Associated Press contributed to this story.