Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Why scores of TSA workers are calling in sick during government shutdown

'Blue Flu': Hundreds Of Unpaid TSA Officials Call Out Sick At Major Airports Hundreds of TSA screeners call out sick at major airports amid government shutdown
Leonard Rios | 07 January, 2019, 08:51

"TSA is grateful to the agents who show up to work, remain focused on the mission and respectful to the traveling public".

Screening wait times could be affected due to the number of absent agents, the statement said.

Morning-shift officers at the airport are being forced to work extra hours to cover the gaps, he told CNN.

Other airport employees called the situation unmanageable and said frantic passengers were left crying in line.

Hundreds of TSA officers - who have been required to work without pay since the shutdown began December 22 - have called out sick in recent days, according to national reports.

Transportation Safety Administration officials said Friday they were monitoring reports that the nation's airports were experiencing an increase in "sick outs" as the partial federal government shutdown entered its third week.

Airport officials said there no screening delays at JFK, Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, or Miami International Airport.

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"Please, everyone, have patience with the officers who came to work", a Delta Airlines employee pleaded with travelers surrounding her. "Please".

"This will definitely affect the flying public who we [are] sworn to protect", Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, told CNN. And as workers call out to take care of children or find other sources of employment, remaining airport officials will have to make some serious decisions: long lines and wait times, or less security?

"Call-outs have increased, but they're really having minimal impact", said TSA spokesman Jim Gregory. About 800,000 workers now receive no pay, and roughly 420,000 are required to report for work without pay with the same repercussions for absenteeism as if they were being paid. And Bilello disputed reports that more than 150 TSA agents called out sick at JFK International Airport in NY.

Every time Donald Trump accuses CNN of promoting "fake news", the network whines that the president is "attacking the press".

That means that if the shutdown continues, it's bound to get worse. "Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance stands will not change".

So far, no TSA worker has missed a paycheck. @spoxdhs & @realdonaldtrump may not like the truth but that won't stop us from reporting. Reports say the impasse could possibly last weeks to years. The big question is whether the sick-outs will increase as the shutdown continues. "If you're not seeing long wait times at airports, there's something on the security side they're not doing".

On Thursday and Friday, more than 4 million travelers nationwide were screened, Bilello said.

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