TSA Screeners Are Calling in Sick

TSA Screeners Are Calling in Sick

TSA Screeners Are Calling in Sick

Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, told CNN that up to 170 TSA employees at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport have called out each day this week. Remaining workers have had to work extra hours to cover the gaps, according to CNN.

If government resumes funding by Thursday, the 51,739 TSA employees supporting airport security will be paid the following day.

In a tweet, CNN defended its report, saying it had spoken "to numerous TSA & union officials" and that it had "cited data provided by unions for our report".

How did the DHS respond?

President Donald Trump amplified Houlton's tweet, doubling down on the administration's go-to "fake news" retort.

The TSA then issued a statement cautioning that while wait times "may be affected", they now "remain well within TSA standards" and "security effectiveness will not be compromised" - not necessarily a reassuring statement, given the TSA's "standards" for both wait times and security.

TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello says federal employees at the nation's airports are still on the job.

TSA union officials claim the call-ins are not an organized protest, explaining workers are calling out to work at second jobs as the shutdown begins to bite.

"This problem of call-outs is really going to explode over the next week or two when employees miss their first paycheck", a union official at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport told CNN.

Hundreds of frustrated travelers were stuck on snaking lines inside the Delta Airlines terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York City Sunday afternoon, as a handful of airport employees tried to keep calm amid increased callouts by TSA agents during the government shutdown.

'This staffing crisis is negatively affecting the National Airspace System, and the shutdown nearly certainly will make a bad situation worse, ' National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi said in a statement. Over 90 per cent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes, Mr Bilello said. He said the growth "without commensurate increases in the size of our Transportation Security Officer workforce ... has impacted both training and morale".

His angry response was followed by an official statement from the TSA which admitted more workers than usual were quoting illness when taking days off, but appeared to put it down the holiday season.

The big question is whether the sick-outs will increase as the shutdown continues. Airports struggling to staff checkpoints may also start reducing the number of lanes open to passengers, which will likely mean longer lines and waiting times.

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