Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Economy | By

Air traffic controllers sue Trump administration over government shutdown

Air traffic controllers sue Trump administration over government shutdown

"The loss of (TSA) officers, while we're already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don't have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires", American Federation of Government Employees TSA Council President Hydrick Thomas said.

While air traffic control operations by the Federal Aviation Administration and airport screenings by the Transportation Security Administration have continued during the funding lapse, that work is being done by federal employees who are not getting paid.

"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.

"Each day, the FAA's Air Traffic Controllers", the lawsuit says, "are responsible for ensuring the safe routing of tens of thousands of flights, often working lengthy, grueling overtime shifts to do so". But Chin said the airport has been monitoring security checkpoints and they have not seen abnormal delays.

As the effects of the shutdown began to ripple out, the Trump administration insisted that air travel staffing was adequate and travellers had not faced unusual delays. "TSA Officers already have the least amount of rights of any federal officer, some of the lowest pay and highest attrition rates in government, and among the lowest morale of any federal agency".

Democratic congressman Bennie Thompson, the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the TSA chief in a letter this week that it was "only reasonable to expect officer call outs and resignations to increase the longer the shutdown lasts". "If not for the shutdown, NATCA members would have begun to receive direct deposit of their pay into their accounts as of this morning".

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

Screeners start around $24,000 a year, and most earn between $26,000 and $35,000, according to TSA.

The National Association of Air Traffic Controllers (NACTA) meanwhile slammed the crisis, saying it was making hard conditions even worse for its 20,000 members. But working without a paycheck tends to lower morale, and at an extreme rate as time goes on, reported Forbes.

Federal Aviation Administration Academy in Oklahoma City has been closed as a result of the shutdown and simulator trainings have been disrupted. After the skipped check, Shuker said it may only be days before some workers can't afford to travel to work.

"I get nervous on flights and having them there really makes there makes me feel more comfortable", said Kyle Gorman.

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