Airports seeing rise in TSA employees calling off work

08 January, 2019, 03:07 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Where can't you travel during the shutdown

The massive lines at the airport happened as the partial government shutdown entered its third week and callouts by agents with the Transportation Security Administration ticked up, according to statistics from the agency.

A union leader told CNN as many as 170 TSA employees at New York's JFK International Airport called out each day this week. The lack of workers led to officers from earlier shifts having to cover the evenings.

If government resumes funding by Thursday, the 51,739 TSA employees supporting airport security will be paid the following day.

Agency and union officials told CNN that since the shutdown began December 22, an increased number of sick days was taking its toll on security at four United States airports at least.

How did the DHS respond?

Transportation security administration officers at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) have not been paid since December 26, 2018. Call-offs increased between 200 to 300 percent at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Numerous employees are forced to call out because they can no longer afford childcare without a paycheck, or need to use the time they would be working for the TSA to earn money they can use to pay rent or other living expenses.


CNN's Rene Marsh and Greg Wallace spoke with two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials about the sick-outs.

Hundreds of frustrated travelers were stuck on snaking lines inside the Delta Airlines terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York City Sunday afternoon, as a handful of airport employees tried to keep calm amid increased callouts by TSA agents during the government shutdown.

TSA acknowledged the uptick in call-outs but says it's had a minimal impact on security screenings and wait times. "Because - we give them a couple of minutes, but we can't wait forever", she said. The workers likely will go without their first paycheck this weekend.

The source said: 'If you're not seeing long wait times at airports, there's something on the security side they're not doing'.

'To date, however, screening wait times remain well within TSA standards. That means TSA officials at airports around the country - cognizant that long security lines frustrate passengers - could have tough decisions to make, including whether to let passengers board flights with less scrutiny.

Hundreds of travelers were stuck in lines at LaGuardia Airport on January 6, 2019, amid increased callouts by TSA agents during the government shutdown. 'TSA is grateful to the agents who show up to work, remain focused on the mission and respectful to the traveling public as they continue the important work necessary to secure the nation's transportation systems'.

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