As the partial government shutdown slogs on, the Transportation Security Administration says an increasing number of its officers are facing financial difficulties and not showing up for work.
That’s causing longer wait times at some major airports around the country. It’s also forcing some airports to close some checkpoints.
Checkpoint A was closed at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
And the security checkpoint in Terminal B continues to be shut down at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
TSA officers, air traffic controllers and other federal workers who have been showing up for work at airport may not be getting paychecks, but across the country, they are getting lots of love, food and assistance from airlines, airports, restaurants, community groups and the general public. Here’s a slightly updated version of the story I filed this weekend for CNBC.
International Airport in Washington, about 20 miles from the Canadian border,
budget airline Allegiant Air provided pizza for TSA workers on Thursday.
In Las Vegas,
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak not only visited with TSA workers at McCarran
International Airport to express his appreciation for their service and
commitment to the airport and to the community, he followed up by having hot
These, and many
other pizza thank-yous, are coming on the heels of last week’s gesture of
goodwill from Canadian air traffic controllers who sent more than 300 pizzas to
their counterparts in more than 40 airports in the United States. Air traffic
controllers in the Canadian city of Edmonton got the (dough) ball rolling.
Of course, TSA
and FAA employees working without paychecks can’t live by pizza alone.
At Seattle Tacoma
International Airport, donations of non-perishable food and gifts cards are
being collected and distributed daily.
Federal is offering interest-free, 90-day
loans, with no
loan fees or application fees, to TSA, FAA and other federal workers waiting
for paychecks in eight western states, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho,
Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.
proud to step in and help our hard-working neighbors get through this uncertain
time and support their financial needs,” said Washington Federal President and
Chief Executive Officer Brent J. Beardall in
a statement, “We
hope other financial institutions will do the same.”
And in San Jose,
California, the City Council this week endorsed Mayor Sam Liccardo’s proposal
to set up a no-interest short-term loan program for many of the 500 federal
employees who have been working at Mineta San Jose International Airport
The program, which
may be funded through airport revenues and administered in partnership with one
or more financial institutions, proposes loans equal to monthly take-home pay
for FAA air traffic controllers, TSA workers and officers working for Customs
and Border Protection (CBP).
“We are going to do everything in our power to keep political dysfunction
in Washington from creating service disruptions or safety issues here in San
Jose,” said Liccardo. “Mineta San Jose International Airport is vital to our
local economy and we need our highly-skilled and trained federal workers there
to keep it running smoothly. That’s why we are exploring tools, like these
local bridge loans, to help keep these essential workers on the job.”
Meanwhile, across the country, airports continue to gather
and distribute donations for federal employees affected by the partial
At Orlando International Airport, there has been
overwhelming response to a donation drive headed up by the Airline Management
Council. On Thursday the airline tweeted a short video of a room with tables
piled high with everything from donated diapers to toilet paper and canned
As the shutdown
continues, airlines, airport concessionaires and other groups are stepping up
with donations, discounts and support.
“Today we were
able to help surprise the Sunport’s @TSA with gift cards to local grocery stores and lots of goodies
to fill their break room for a few days – all thanks to the wonderful folks
with Indivisible Nob Hill and Resist Tyranny Tuesdays,” Albuquerque
International Sunport tweeted, along with photos.
And on Thursday,
“It was our turn,” St. Louis Lambert International Airport, said in a tweet,
“The #stlairport and @HMSHost provided lunches to all @TSA officers this
morning and afternoon. We appreciate your huSTLe and dedication. #ThankyouTSA.”https://twitter.com/flystl/status/1086018922267193344