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Government shutdown could create turbulence for TSA workers

TSA employees must work during a shut down without pay

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With a government shutdown looming, employees with the Transportation Security Administration will have to work without getting paid.

Like most federal employees, TSA officers are considered essential workers and have to work when the government is shuttered.

“Even if they do pass the budget and we get that back pay, our officers will still get those fees and fines, from the late fees, from credit cards,” said Myles Wagner, executive vice president for the American Federation of Government Employees Local 618.

There are 300 TSA workers at the Indianapolis International Airport. Wagner predicts there could be an increase in the amount of TSA workers who call out sick during a shutdown.

“We do have some employees that approach management and ask for leave without pay for a period during the shutdown because they simply can’t afford to leave their house anymore,” said Wagner.

During the last government shutdown, TSA officers went 5 weeks without a paycheck. Should a similar scenario unfold this fall, wait times could be longer for passengers.

TSA workers can’t get a second job during the shutdown unless it is approved by the Department of Homeland Security. Wagner is angry Congress is dragging its feet at the expense of TSA workers.

“In order for them to be heard and make a statement, they are taking our very important paychecks away from us to pay for food for our families, to put roofs over our heads,” said Wagner.

If a shutdown occurs, officers will get a letter from the government they can submit to mortgage or credit card companies proving they won’t be getting a check until a shutdown ends, but the companies do not have to accept it.