Government shutdown: TSA shortages push MIA to close terminal

TSA officer Mike Gayzagian

TSA officer Mike Gayzagian

- Atlanta TSA union voiced their disapproval of the ongoing partial federal government shutdown as it entered its 20th day on Thursday. However, the controller staffing was already at a 30-year low and support workers have been furloughed, putting more pressure on those who remain on the job and threatening to cause flight delays, she said.

The news comes as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association hit the Trump administration with a lawsuit in DC federal court Friday, arguing the government has "unlawfully deprived" its members of their wages during the impasse - "devastating" their lives and putting passengers at risk. There is no indication that is happening yet. It also added that until a bill is passed to reopen the government, workers will be be telling Congress and the President to do their jobs so they can do theirs.

"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. The agency is focusing on ensuring its resources are devoted to ensure that the system remains safe, it said in a statement.

"This is a matter of safety, security, and economic concern", said the Association of Flight Attendants, which held a protest in the capital Washington on Thursday along with other aviation sector unions, to demand the resumption of normal services.

"They are truly stuck in the middle and they have to put up with the flyers that are maybe impatient and not getting paid for that, don't know if I'd put up with it", said Lisa Peck.

Airports Council International-North America, which represents USA airports, urged Mr Trump and congressional leaders in a letter to quickly reopen the government. Airports in San Francisco and Kansas City already do that, with approval from the Transportation Department.

Mike Boyd, a consultant to airports, said TSA leaders will do what they can to streamline the screening process, which he called "pretty much of a veneer" even before the government shutdown.

Bilello said on Twitter that the TSA is working with "stakeholders and industry partners to explore efforts to consolidate officers and operations".

Some airports are doing what they can to help federal employees who are working without pay.

The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 federal workers, filed its own lawsuit January 8. There are 51,000 airport security officers, and he said the agency has brought on hundreds of new ones.

Pittsburgh International Airport, meanwhile, delivered lunches Friday to TSA workers and air traffic controllers, and they plan to do so every Friday until the shutdown ends.

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