TSA to Close Some Security Lanes Due to Government Shutdown

Gladys Abbott
January 12, 2019

"Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown", AFGE TSA Council president Hydrick Thomas said in a statement on the AFGE website.

Gregory said the agency has a team of officers who can go to airports facing a shortage, a tactic developed in case natural disasters prevented screeners from getting to work.

TSA Security Officer Nyamsi Tchapleu looks at images created by a "backscatter" scanner during a demonstration at the Transportation Security Administration's Systems Integration Facility at Ronald Reagan National Airport December 30, 2009, outside Washington, D.C. TSA agents have been working without pay since the government shutdown began on December 22, 2018.

Despite the US government shutdown the federal employees are still coming to work at Pittsburgh International.

Kristin Simms, local President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at Oakland Tower, said the safety of departures and arrivals is a top priority even though staffing is already down.

A rise in sick calls from TSA agents is now forcing Miami International Airport to shut down one terminal to departing flights from Saturday to Monday. This weekend, it will become the longest shutdown in US history. "That's obviously where it becomes more hard", he said.

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Tampa International Airport is working with different agencies to set up a food pantry, get bus passes and work with utilities to help hundreds of federal employees who may be struggling to pay bills.

"They are truly stuck in the middle and they have to put up with the flyers that are maybe impatient and not getting paid for that, don't know if I'd put up with it", said Lisa Peck.

Pittsburgh International Airport delivered lunches to TSA workers and air traffic controllers on Friday and plans to do it every Friday until the shutdown ends. A Federal Reserve survey in May found that 40 percent of Americans would have to borrow or sell something to make a $400 emergency payment.

Friday marks the first day screeners will miss a paycheck, and airport spokesman Greg Chin said there's a concern there won't be enough workers to handle all 11 checkpoints during normal hours over the weekend.

"We're very concerned that the current situation with government employees going without pay is unsustainable in the long term", Bidwell said.

Chin said some passengers have complained about longer waits since the shutdown, but says there have been no abnormal security delays. "We thank TSA officers for their resilience and diligence, and we thank industry and the public for their continued acts of kindness and support".

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