TSA airport screeners have been working without pay during the shutdown and now many don't have money to get to work

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  • Transportation Security Administration or TSA employees have been forced to work without pay during the government shutdown.
  • Large numbers of TSA workers have called out from work at major airports around the country.
  • The TSA union president says it's because the workers simply can't afford to get to work.
  • The mean annual wage for TSA employees was about $40,960, or $19.69 per hour as of May 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

With the US federal government shutdown, employees at the Transportation Security Administration or TSA have been forced to work without pay.

Now, large numbers of TSA screeners have called out from work at major airports around the country.

For example, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the fourth busiest airport in the US, usually sees 25 to 30 employees call out from a shift, CNN reported. Since the shutdown, a local TSA official told the publication that the call out rate has increased 200% to 300%.

According to the TSA workers union, its members are not staging a strike or any form organized labor event. Instead, it's a simple matter of economics.

"TSA employees aren't calling out intentionally," union president Hydrick Thomas told Business Insider. "They are calling out because they don't have the funds to make it work."

"TSA workers aren't highly paid very much, they live paycheck to paycheck and they depend on that paycheck at the end of the month," Thomas added.

The mean annual wage for TSA employees was about $40,960, or $19.69 per hour as of May 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The US federal government has been shut down since December 22.

Business Insider reached out to TSA officials for comment but was notified that responses would be delayed due to the shutdown.

Read more: Delta, United, and JetBlue pilots are warning that flying will become more dangerous as the government shutdown continues.

On Wednesday, the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to end the shutdown. The union, which represents 61,000 pilots flying for airlines such as Delta, United, JetBlue, and Alaska Air, are concerned that the lack of air-traffic controllers, industry regulators, and security staff working during the shutdown will compromise the "safety, security, and efficiency of our national airspace system."

In addition, ALPA echoed Thomas' concern that a prolonged shutdown will cause financial harm to personnel who are working without pay.

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