TSA agents have been forced to work in airports without pay since the government shutdown began and many are leaving. Airport security, like border security, is deemed an “essential service” to national security and so employees have continued to work since December 22nd.
The TSA Union head Hydrick Thomas said on the union’s website that while some employees have already quit, there are many more who are contemplating it. He called the shutdown “unacceptable”. This comes after several reports of TSA agents calling in sick, leaving many others to work longer hours to cover shifts.
Last week, the American Federation of Governmental Workers union, which represents 40,000 TSA workers, sued the government for forcing TSA agents to work without pay. J. David Cox, the AFGW president, said “to work without pay is nothing short of inhumane”.
The government shutdown was sparked due to disputes over the funding of President Trump’s $5 billion border wall. Since then Trump has told Democrats he would not be willing to “move an inch” below the funding he proposed. Last week he proposed to declare a national emergency and use emergency funds from FEMA to get the wall built.
After several meetings between congressional representatives and President Trump, there still seems to be no end in sight to the shutdown. The current shutdown is entering its fourth week, making it the longest in US history.
So What does that mean for you?
Well, to start…. possibly less security in airports.
Earlier this month, in a Delta flight out of an airport in Atlanta, a woman heading to Japan notified a flight attendant about how she had gotten into the plane with a gun and live ammunition. The flight attendant took her weapon and gave it back to the woman as soon as she landed. The woman in question flew back to the states the same day she arrived.
Japan Ministries issued a complaint to the US Transportation Securities and asked that they take preventive measures. TSA is investigating this incident and looking into re-training some of its staff.
Here in Houston
On Monday morning, Bush Intercontinental Airport issued a statement notifying all passengers that terminal B would be shut down due to the lack of TSA agents. The alert informed passengers that they would be routed to terminal C or E and advised them to arrive at the airport earlier than usual to get processed. It unclear how long terminal B will be shut down for, but as long as the airport continues to suffer staffing issues it is unlikely to open back up soon.