In response to security threats in today’s world, the US government federalized airport security workers. Many argued that simply making screeners federal workers would not solve the root problem: bored, low-paid, and poorly trained security workers have little motivation to be vigilant. How might these employees be motivated to provide the security that travel threats now demand?

Employees of the Transportation Security Administration could be motivated with higher pay and improved workplace conditions, recognition of rights, and job security. According to the TSA union, low pay, danger, limited workplace rights, and the threat of privatization are the top four reasons that employees leave their jobs.

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Motivation for improved performance and continued employment at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could probably be achieved by increasing pay, improving workplace conditions, recognizing worker rights, and improving job security. TSA has a very high turnover compared to other federal agencies, and the TSA employees union mentions these or closely related factors as reasons that former employees give for their decision to leave the agency.

The most important element of motivation for TSA employees is likely to be higher pay. Compared to similar positions in other federal agencies, TSA employees pay is lower. Along with a higher base rate, regular raises would be another incentive.

Improved workplace conditions are also crucial to improving the generally low morale. Along with dangers associated with terrorism, arms, explosive devices, and other weapons, agents are also threatened by disgruntled travelers. Overall streamlining of the security process, including increasing the number of checkpoints, would help improve travelers’ attitudes. Stricter enforcement of existing laws and increased penalties for assaulting agents could be effective deterrents. With increases in communicable, airborne diseases, increased amounts and higher-quality PPE is also needed.

Workplace rights include such items as family and medical leave; TSA employees do not have the same benefits as most other federal workers. The requirement to take personal, unpaid leave both lowers morale and reduces pay. TSA staff should receive the protection of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.

Job security is closely related to the ongoing debate over privatization. Assurances of continued federal status could alleviate worker concerns of replacement or job elimination.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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