The global airport in Miami has been forced to shut down one of its terminals early for three days due to a shortage of security agents sparked by the partial U.S. government shutdown now in its 21st day. Now, some are quitting altogether, their union says.
Airport officials said closing down one terminal will allow for more TSA inspectors to be at other checkpoints.
In a statement released Tuesday, the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents the workers, warned that safety could take a big hit in transit hubs as the federal government shutdown drags into week three, leaving staff without pay.
The TSA workers are among the some 420,000 federal employees deemed essential who are working without pay. He said that other federal workers who inspect airlines and maintenance facilities and certify aircraft manufacturing are furloughed.
"They have bills to pay, children to feed, and that's why we're looking to pay them so they don't seek other employment", he added. "Aviation is not being overseen".
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At New York's LaGuardia Airport, fliers had to wait in almost hour-long security lines on Sunday.
"As the lines slow down and the crowds grow larger, it puts more and more passengers at risk from an attack", Price said.
And, up until a few days ago, many agents have powered through the shutdown.
It's a new normal for many, but Bluegrass Airport workers are stressed and anxious.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske announced the compensation Friday on Twitter amid mounting concerns that the nation's airports might not be able to provide the usual standard of security. Airports in San Francisco and Kansas City already do that, with approval from the Transportation Department. Security delays could mean missed flights for passengers.
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Reports that "sick" US border employees have affected security were dismissed by the Transportation Security Administration, which released a statement last weekend saying that while sick calls had increased over the holidays, security effectiveness has not been compromised and screening waiting times were "well within TSA standards". Most dropped the idea after TSA's performance improved.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport organized an event with credit unions, utilities and nonprofit organizations that can help federal employees obtain short-term loans and assistance, said spokesman Perry Cooper.
"This is really a response to the need of people who we work alongside everyday and aren't being paid, and so it's about doing the right thing for people who are part of the airport family", Scherberger said.
The Air traffic controllers association is demanding the government pay its members for the work they've done.
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