Air Traffic Controllers Sue Trump Over Shutdown

TSA officers at Logan Airport

TSA officers at Logan Airport

Rep. Donna Shalala, newly elected to a Miami district, cited the planned closing of a Pizza Hut in MIA's Terminal G Saturday afternoon as one of the ripple effects from a partial shutdown that's about to be the longest in USA history.

Facing double the usual number of absences among unpaid TSA screeners, the Miami airport will close one of its concourses most of Saturday, Sunday and Monday to make sure TSA can adequately staff the remaining security checkpoints.

Federal Aviation Administration employees in the air traffic control tower are contracted, and will not experience pay issues, but controllers in the nearby Wilmington control tower will continue to work without pay along with TSA employees. But personnel that are deemed "essential", including air traffic controllers and law enforcement agents, have been working without pay.

Here is a roundup of recent developments in the partial government shutdown's impact on air travel. Security wait times at O'Hare International and Midway airports are at 15 minutes or less, the city's Aviation Department said. Transportation Security Administration workers who would normally screen that terminal will be moved to busier checkpoints.

"We have a resilient workforce, people will come to work until they can't ー until they don't have the means to get here or feed their family ー that's what's going to happen". They're anxious how they're going to pay their mortgages, their rent, their vehicle payments.

Screeners start around $24,000 a year, and most earn between $26,000 and $35,000, according to TSA. It has a team of non-essential employees who are trained to screen air travelers, but that is only a stopgap created to cover for shortages at one or two airports during a natural disaster.

"We are at normal operations".

Other airports had similar messages. That's almost $1.2 billion in lost pay each week, when multiplied by 800,000 federal workers. There is no indication that is happening yet. Now employees have become protesters - demanding the government reopen. They oversee and certify inspections done by employees of airlines and aircraft-repair shops. 'They're erring on the side of caution'. Their work is not getting done, he said. The airline said it will also tell customers to arrive early and to double-check their departure gate.

TSA spokesman Jim Gregory said officials are managing.

"A hundred out of 3,300 is probably not real good odds", said Stephen Carl, an FAA inspector in Florida. "We just expect to get compensated for that job".

Carl said ongoing investigations have been put on hold by the shutdown. But she said the plan is short-term and might end if more concourses lose checkpoints.

Lines at the nation's airports have been normal, Bilello said.

The stress is already taking a toll at some airports.

"TSA officers are among the lowest paid federal employees, with many living paycheck-to-paycheck", Thompson wrote. The TSA said the effect was "minimal".

"I don't care who thinks they're gonna be the victor".

With the shutdown, TSA employees and other staffers considered crucial to safety and security are working without pay.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said that requiring 16,000 controllers to work without pay violates their constitutional rights and a federal wage law in a lawsuit in federal court in Washington D.C.

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