As the partial government shutdown enters day 26, federal workers around the country are facing the reality of missed paychecks and the impact that will have on their lives. More than 50,000 Transportation Security Officers – including those at Texarkana Regional Airport – have been going to work every day without being paid for that work.
“I don’t know when I’ll get my next paycheck, and it’s causing a lot of financial stress for me and my family,” said a local TSA worker. “My bills don’t stop just because the government is shut down.”
“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown,” said American Federation of Government Employees TSA Council President Hydrick Thomas. “The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires. Our TSOs already do an amazing job without the proper staffing levels, but if this keeps up there are problems that will arise – least of which would be increased wait times for travelers.”
“This is a public safety issue for our members and the American traveling public at large,” said Cherry Hooten, president of AFGE Local 917. “When the women and men who come to work every day to safeguard our airports are distracted, wondering how they are going to pay their bills because they don’t know when they’ll get their next check, lives are being put at risk. Not just in the airport, but across the country.”
“It is completely unacceptable that the women and men who risk their lives safeguarding our airports are still required to report for work without knowing when they’ll be paid again,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. “TSA Officers already have the least amount of rights of any federal officer, some of the lowest pay and highest attrition rates in government, and among the lowest morale of any federal agency. Working for weeks on end without being compensated – while already being short-staffed – only makes their situation worse.”
“The federal government should be a model employer for this country, but right now they’re failing,” Thomas added. “I just hope our elected leaders stop using federal workers and the valuable services we provide as pawns in their political games. Our work is too important and the risks are too great, and any fallout resulting from it would leave our elected officials entirely to blame.”
“For the last 18 years our TSA Officers have done extraordinary work keeping the traveling public safe,” said Cox. “Every day they step foot into our airports they are putting their lives on the line to protect us, and they deserve to be compensated for that sacrifice.”