Today is the first day federal employees won’t see their paycheck, thanks to Trump’s government shutdown, and already we can see its effects. Miami International Airport has announced that they will be shutting down one of its terminals – Concourse G, which has 15 gates and includes United Airlines – on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, starting at 1pm each day. The concourse will be open in the mornings.
With TSA screeners – many who live paycheck to paycheck – working without pay since December 22, a higher rate than usual are calling in sick. This isn’t to take advantage, but, according to Business Insider, they’re having “financial hardships” that, of course, make it difficult for them to work for free.
Via Business Insider:
An airport spokesman, Greg Chin, however, told the Miami Herald on Thursday that federal screeners were calling in sick at “double the normal rate for Miami” and that managers of the Transportation Security Administration, which runs the checkpoint security, weren’t sure whether they’d be able to operate all of the airport’s checkpoints at normal hours.
The person added that the TSA experienced a 5.1% unscheduled call-out rate on Thursday, up from 3.3% on the same day in 2018.
The TSA workers’ union president, Hydrick Thomas, has said workers are calling out at higher rates because of financial hardship.
“TSA employees aren’t calling out intentionally,” Thomas told Business Insider last week. “They are calling out because they don’t have the funds to make it work.”
“The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires,” says Thomas.
Meanwhile, with Trump unwilling to negotiate in order to end the shutdown and Mitch McConnell burying his head in the sand, there’s no end to in sight to the government shutdown, which means air travel will probably get a lot worse for TSA employees – and passengers – before it gets better.
Image: Adam Moss