Aviation workers say government shutdown 'needlessly risks' safety in the skies

Andrew Cummings
January 12, 2019

Starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Concourse G will close and about a dozen departing flights will be moved to nearby terminals.

"Our inspectors are the oversight, they are the regulatory side of the house for the FAA", said Mike Perrone, president of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union.

Gayzagian is acting president of The American Federation of Government employees, which represents TSA workers.

A United spokesperson told the Herald that they did not predict its passengers would experience flight delays due to the temporary terminal closure as the airline 'will work to ensure we do everything we can for our customers'. The current partial government shutdown became tied for the longest shutdown on record as of Friday.

The intent of the leafleting is to underscore the importance of their work and end the shutdown more quickly, the official said, not to protest.

CTA spokesman Brian Steele said day-to-day operations at the agency are not affected, but it is not getting federal grant funding to pay for ongoing expenses for construction projects.

Some speaking out are TSA Agents working at Metro Airport where this round table was held. But she said the plan is short-term and might end if more concourses lose checkpoints.

Longer lines will alienate travelers and could push more airports to replace government employees with privately contracted screening agents.

TSA has downplayed reports that a rise in airport screeners calling out sick - or even quitting their jobs - has led to long lines at security.

There has already been a modest increase in TSA officers calling in sick.

TSA said that on Tuesday it screened 1.73 million passengers and 99.9 percent of passengers waited less than 30 minutes.

"I don't care who thinks they're gonna be the victor".

TSA screeners, who are considered to be essential, have been working without pay since a partial federal government shutdown began on December 22.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said that requiring 16,000 controllers to work without pay violates their constitutional rights and a federal wage law in a lawsuit in federal court in Washington D.C.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport organized a resource fair to bring together credit unions, utility representatives and nonprofit organizations to help federal employees access short term loans and assistance programs, said spokesman Perry Cooper.

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