Security staff go sick during USA shutdown

Mae Love
January 9, 2019

"The agency is well prepared to handle these different contingencies without letting it impact the actual security", said Kip Hawley, a former TSA administrator, according to TheWSJ. He says security doesn't worry him, but catching his flight on time does, especially since TSA officials predict the sick calls will increase the longer the government shut down goes on.

On Friday, in response to CNN's original report, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello acknowledged that "callouts began over the Holiday period and have increased", and that the agency was "closely monitoring the situation". "Why are we pushing them to the point where they've got their minds on their children, and who's going to take care of them, and who's going to pay for day care?" Sen.

"We need to pay our bills now not later", said TSA worker John Hubert.

The union for federal employees is rallying on Thursday, asking people to ask Congress end the shut down.

TSA says security concerns are unfounded and screening times have not been impacted.

The federal agency tasked with guaranteeing USA airport security has acknowledged an increase in the number of its employees calling off work during the partial government shutdown. "You are an essential employee and you are required to report for work to carry out essential duties".

Due to excessive unscheduled absences recently experienced at PSP (Palm Springs International airport) that has adversely impacted security operations, if you have an unscheduled absence, you will NOT be placed in an intermittent furlough status.

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The TSA said,"We understand that the current lapse in funding may be causing added stress for our workforce and want to continue to express that we are grateful to the more than 51,000 officers across the country who 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".

"Your unauthorized unscheduled absence will be coded by payroll as absent without leave (AWOL)", Elam wrote.

"This problem of call-outs is really going to explode over the next week or two when employees miss their first paycheck", a union official at DFW told CNN.

Typically, the contractors are brought in during summer and the holiday travel season, but Cooper said Port commissioners will soon decide whether to extend the contract through February or March in case of an extended shutdown. New recruits can not be hired or trained without funding.

As CNN reported, some agents have started either calling out sick, or taking up a side hustle like driving for a ride-sharing service like Lyft or Uber to make ends meet.

It was not clear if the Palm Springs email was spurred by the discussion in that meeting, or was separate.

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