TSA Screeners Working Without Pay During Government Shutdown Calling Out Sick

Posted January 08, 2019

CNN reported Friday that hundreds of TSA screeners at major US airports have been calling out sick as an alternative to working without pay due to the partial government shutdown.

People working at the airport tell 7 Action News off camera they have not seen or heard of any call offs from TSA because of the government shutdown at Detroit Metro Airport.

Union officials told CNN that the absences are not part of an organized action, however they believe the number of people calling out will likely increase.

DHS spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton went on to deny the report.

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For now, I'd personally recommend getting to the airport the full three hours before your flight is expected to leave, just in case you run into trouble when you're trying to make it through security. "To date the [checkpoint] wait times remain within TSA standards".

On Friday, CNN reported that many TSA officers have called out of work this week in at least four major airports.

TSA spokesman Michael Bilello tweeted that 5.5 percent of the TSA workforce at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport called out Friday, compared with 3.5 percent on a normal day.

CNN fired back at the Trump administration Saturday after the Department of Homeland Security publicly slammed a recent report that revealed TSA screeners are calling out sick at increased rates amid the government shutdown, which may ultimately lead to less secure airports. TSA said in a statement that it is "closely monitoring the situation". Overall, 99.8% waited less than 30 minutes. "A prolonged government shutdown could potentially impact security and wait times at airports, as transportation security officers seek other employment", said Mr Christopher Bidwell, senior vice-president for security.

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President Donald Trump and congressional leaders met Friday at the White House and are no closer to resolving the impasse.

The agency said the call outs are causing "minimal impact" because of the 51,739 employees supporting the screening process.

"I don't care that most of the workers not getting paid are democrats, I want to stop the shutdown as soon as we are in agreement on strong border security!" 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.

Jonathan Dean at BWI said there has been no increase in waiting times at TSA checkpoints. For security reasons, the agency doesn't release specific staffing numbers.

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