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Seattle's TSA officers on verge of quitting over lack of pay

08 January 2019

President Donald Trump on Saturday lashed out at CNN for reporting that hundreds of TSA screeners are calling in sick rather than work without pay during the government shutdown.

"This will definitely affect the flying public who we (are) sworn to protect", Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, says in the report.

Fellow TSA agents, who are also going without pay, worked extra hours to cover the staffing gap, CNN reported.

TSA employees at airport checkpoints are the ones who work despite not knowing when their next paycheck will come.

DHS spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton went on to deny the report.

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Trump was likely referring to Houlton's tweet from Friday, which said there is no impact from a "non-existent sick out".

TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello says federal employees at the nation's airports are still on the job. The number of people calling out sick have increased by 200 percent to 300 percent at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Numerous employees are forced to call out because they can no longer afford childcare without a paycheck, or need to use the time they would be working for the TSA to earn money they can use to pay rent or other living expenses.

Most federal workers during this government shutdown are working without a paycheck, so there's was reason to believe those employees would start calling out.

Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham airports in North Carolina had a 10 percent increase in absences according to union president Mac Johnson, and numbers across the country were predicted to get worse when employees notice the difference on payday.

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Jonathan Dean, a BWI spokesman, said the airport is "monitoring the situation and working closely with our TSA counterpart".

TSA issued a statement in response to CNN's report: "Call outs began over the Holiday period and have increased, but are causing minimum impact given there are 51,739 employees supporting the screening process".

"This is our third shutdown in a year", Bilello said, "so we have some experience and we take it one day at a time". At Dallas-Fort Worth International, the wait time was slightly longer than in NY but still within TSA standards.

The Department of Homeland Security press secretary said this is all a bunch of bologna.

Passengers can also avoid getting stopped with a prohibited item by making sure to check the "Can I Bring My...?" feature on tsa.gov to determine if they can bring an item in a carry-on, a checked bag or if they should leave it at home.

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Seattle's TSA officers on verge of quitting over lack of pay