Philly TSA agents, air traffic controllers feel sting of government shutdown


As the partial government shutdown reached its third week, thousands of controllers are among the hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers nationwide.

Congress adjourned for the weekend Friday afternoon, guaranteeing the government shutdown will continue and become the longest in U.S. history - as air traffic controllers sued the Trump administration over their frozen pay. Airports in San Francisco and Kansas City already do that, with approval from the Transportation Department.

According to a statement, Miami International Airport will shut down one of its courses (Concourse G) for several days beginning Saturday, as TSA officials have been calling in sick at twice the regular rate, according to multiple sources. Airport officials said they plan to do the same on Sunday and Monday out of concerns they wouldn't have enough employees to operate all the security checkpoints. Nevertheless, safety inspectors are deemed by the government as non-essential during the shutdown.

"I think it speaks to Pittsburgh and the folks working here, and we're very grateful we've seen a minimal impact". With the shutdown reaching its 21st day Friday, "we think those standards are under duress", Willis said.

Air traffic controllers are also working without pay, and National Transportation Safety Board investigators aren't able to deploy to accidents, like a deadly small plane crash in MI last week.

Carl said ongoing investigations have been put on hold by the shutdown. A Federal Reserve survey in May found that 40 percent of Americans would have to borrow or sell something to make a $400 emergency payment.

"We certainly hope that is rhetoric and not something that is gonna come to fruition", said Devine.

President Donald Trump has demanded Congress approve $5 billion for a wall on the southern border as part of the legislative package needed to fund parts of the government for another year.

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51,000 TSA agents are among the 800,000 federal workers who will not receive a paycheck Friday.

TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said that "in an effort to optimize resources without degrading screening and security effectiveness, where it is feasible, TSA is working with key stakeholders and industry partners to explore efforts to consolidate officers and operations".

Some airports are trying to help the unpaid federal employees.

Lines at the nation's airports have been normal, Bilello said.

Pittsburgh International Airport serves more than 9 million passengers annually on 17 carriers. "We're kind of out in uncharted water here".

Many employees are struggling to get by but still continue to work.

The NATCA represents some 19,000 FAA employees, which includes 14,000 air traffic controllers.