Miami airport terminal closing early as screeners call in sick

TSA officer Mike Gayzagian

TSA officer Mike Gayzagian

The government shutdown has left TSA employees working without pay, raising concerns that airports might not be able to provide the usual standard of security.

While the shutdown lingers on, TSA agents like Garcia said they are receiving support from other airport staffers and passengers.

Union officials said some TSA officers have already quit because of the shutdown and many are considering quitting.

"I'm dedicated to TSA's mission, and we all still have a job to do", Smith said. "If this keeps up there are problems that will arise - least of which would be increased wait times for travelers".

Earlier this month, the Air Line Pilots Association International, which represents 61,000 pilots, sent a letter to Trump urging him to end the shutdown and warning that it is threatening the safe operations of the airspace system. There are 51,000 airport security officers, and he said the agency has brought on hundreds of new ones.

That's about three per cent of the roughly 450 flights that depart each day.

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The continuing government shutdown, now tied for the longest in USA history, is starting to affect airport operations and has cut the flow of federal money to transit agencies, including the CTA. TSA spokesman Michael Bilello conceded that the screener absentee rate is up, but said it was only slightly higher than normal for this time of year.

As the government shutdown approaches the milestone of becoming the longest in history, Transportation Security Agency employees are feeling the strain ー and soon, so will travelers, Joe Shuker, a TSA union representative, told Cheddar.

Screeners start around $24,000 a year, and most earn between $26,000 and $35,000, according to TSA. "In order to maintain the right level of staffing, it's critical to have a continuous process of recruiting, training and getting new officers to our nation's airports", Bilello said.

Federal workers would be typically paid on Friday.

"Airlines can not receive delivery of aircraft causing route cancellations, attrition of air traffic controllers reduces flow of aircraft in the air, and as transportation security officers reduce in numbers we will experience long, slowed security lines". The FAA suspended training and limited safety efforts to "urgent continued operational activity to protect life and property". After the skipped check, Shuker said it may only be days before some workers can't afford to travel to work.

The Concourse D-2 TSA checkpoint is available to TSA Pre✓ passengers flying American Airlines and other airlines using concourses D and E. TSA Pre✓ is also available at the Concourse H checkpoint for passengers on flights in concourses H or J.

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