Airports seeing rise in TSA employees calling off work

08 January, 2019, 03:08 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • AFP  Getty Images

Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, told CNN that up to 170 TSA employees at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport have called out each day this week.

Some of those officers, who are living paycheck to paycheck, are parents who will be more distracted from their work.

With many travelers expecting delays due to the shutdown, TSA did add a disclaimer that wait times will be affected depending on the number of call outs.

However, the local union president said that may not last. Over 90 percent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes, Mr. Bilello said.

The government shutdown affects only some agencies and departments, including Homeland Security, for whom budget appropriations bills weren't enacted in 2018.

People traveling through Detroit's Metro Airport say they're not concerned about TSA employees calling off work 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.

"Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change", Bilello said on Twitter.

But federal officials reportedly believe the "blue flu" - TSA uniforms are blue - has all the hallmarks of a coordinated protest against the shutdown.

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"It's also worth reporting that we are grateful for the more than 51,000 agents across the country who show up to work, remain focused on the mission and are respectful to the traveling public as they continue the important work necessary to secure the nation's transportation systems", he said.

CNN went on to respond to Trump, writing that while Trump "may not like the truth", TSA did confirm that the number of call outs had increased.

Trash lays on the grounds of the National Mall as the partial shutdown of the USA government goes into the 12th day, on January 2, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

Other airport employees called the situation unmanageable and said frantic passengers were left crying in line.

TSA Administrator David Pekoske recently urged President Trump to keep Nielsen despite reports that the president had grown frustrated with her leadership.

"Because we wondered if there would a long line at security", said Jacob, who thanked the TSA workers who came to work Sunday.

Airport officials said there no screening delays at JFK, Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, or Miami International Airport.

For security reasons, the agency does not release specific staffing numbers.

Officers could even be forced to loosen standards for checked baggage, experts told CNN.

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