By Allan Lengel ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — After a long drawn out battle that lasted nearly 10 years, more than 40,000 airport screeners have been given limited collective bargaining rights, Fox News reported. 
The station reported that the Transportation Security Administration on Friday granted the right. Under the provision, screeners would still be barred from striking or negotiating over compensation.
Republican lawmakers had adamantly opposed the measure, saying it will compromise the fight against terrorism.
John Pistole, head of the agency and the former number two person at the FBI, said the unions will allow bargaining of employment issues like setting work shifts, transfers, vacation time and awards, the station reported.
“The safety of the traveling public is our top priority and we will not negotiate on security,” Pistole said, according to Fox. “But morale and employee engagement cannot be separated from achieving superior security.”
Florida Rep. John Mica, Republican chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called the decision “an Obama union payoff” and would hurt the government’s fight against terrorism, Fox reported.