- Employees of the Transportation Security Administration have been working unpaid since the US federal government shutdown began on December 22.
- Hydrick Thomas, the head of the TSA workers’ union, said in a post on the organisation’s website that some workers had already quit and many others were considering quitting.
- The union says this could create a “massive security risk” for travellers.
- A TSA representative told Politico that 500 new officers were hired Sunday and 300 more were expected to start the next pay period.
Employees of the Transportation Security Administration have been working unpaid since the US federal government shutdown began December 22.
And though such workers are due back pay whenever the government reopens, the TSA union leader says many workers are quitting their jobs – or at least thinking about it.
“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck,” the TSA union’s president, Hydrick Thomas, said in a post on the organisation’s website. “Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown.”
“The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travellers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires,” Thomas continued.
It’s unclear how many TSA workers have quit. Neither the union nor TSA officials were immediately available for comment.
However, the TSA spokesman Michael Bilello told Politico that approximately 500 new officers were hired Sunday and 300 more were expected to start in the next pay period.
Reports last week already indicated that many of the agency’s employees had been calling out en masse during the shutdown, something Thomas has attributed to the lack of finances to get to work.
“TSA employees aren’t calling out intentionally,” Thomas told Business Insider on Friday. “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,” he added.
The mean annual wage for TSA employees was about $US40,960, or $US19.69 an hour, as of May 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics.
On Friday, a TSA representative told Business Insider that the agency’s screeners had not yet missed a paycheck. The person went on to say that should the shutdown end by the middle of this week, their paycheck set to arrive this Friday would also be processed on time.
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