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TSA Screeners Are Calling in Sick

Absences increase at airports as employees are asked to work without pay
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2019 8:54 AM CST
Transportation Security Administration employees work at a security check point at LaGuardia Airport in New York in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – TSA screeners currently working at airports across the country are doing so without collecting a paycheck, thanks to the government shutdown. And it appears that an increasing number of them aren't having it anymore. The New York Times and CNN report that the number of screeners calling in sick is unusually high at some big airports, including Dallas Fort-Worth and Kennedy in New York. At Kennedy, for example, more than 150 TSA employees called in sick Friday morning. The big question is whether the sick-outs will increase as the shutdown continues.

A TSA spokesman objected to the coverage, saying sick time always increases around the holidays and the flu season. “Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change,” said Michael Bilello. He cautioned, however, that wait times might increase if they continue. About 55,000 TSA employees are deemed essential, meaning they are expected to continue working without pay during the shutdown. A federal official tells the Times that the call-ins appear to be coordinated in protest. (President Trump said Friday that it could last "months or even years.")

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