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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Thousands of workers who screen baggage and passengers at the nation’s airports, including here at Philadelphia International, will learn later today who will represent them in their first contract with the government.

More than 45,000 Transportation Security Administration employees, including more than 700 full-and-part-time workers here in Philadelphia, have been casting ballots the past several weeks in an election for a union to represent them.

The results will be tallied today.

Two unions – the American Federation of Government Employees and the National Treasury Employees Union  – have been campaigning in person, through the mail, and even using social networking sites.

John Gage is president of the AFGE.

“Somehow being a union member affects in an adverse way affects national security, we just don’t buy it.”

Colleen Kelley, is president of the NTEU.

“This is about employee rights. It is about the mission of TSA and it is about the safety of the flying public.”

Kelley and Gage are hopeful their respective organizations win the vote. Both say TSA managers actually now welcome a union and both are confident a contract can be negotiated within months of the union coming on board.

Reported by Mark Abrams, KYW Newsradio

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