Travelers Face Longer Lines, Closed Screening Areas as Unpaid TSA Workers Call In Sick

By Anna Breuer on 14 January 2019
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IMG_41972Travelers were experiencing long lines at airport security checkpoints in many cities as the result of a rising absentee rate amongst federal workers who staff them and who, thanks to the partial government shutdown, are not being paid.

At at least two of the nation’s largest airports, airport managers had to close major checkpoints and consolidate operations due to a shortage of agents to man them.

TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said in a tweet Monday morning that the absenteeism rate was more than double that of a normal day, meaning that one out of every 13 workers failed to show up versus one out of 30 one year earlier.

“This morning, TSA experienced a national rate of 7.6 percent unscheduled absences compared to a 3.2 percent rate one year ago,” he wrote.

Later in the day, Bilello said that four airports – Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, Miami International, George Bush Intercontinental in Houston, and Washington Dulles International – were “exercising their contingency plans due to call-outs” for such occasions.  He later said in a tweet that Miami had “normalized” operations.

On Friday, the Transportation Security Administration’s 51,000 employees missed their first paycheck, although the agency’s administrator, David Pekokse, said Saturday that he had arranged to pay the workers a $500 bonus as well as for their work on the first day of the shutdown.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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