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TSA Officers Protest Shutdown

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ATLANTA, GA — Transportation Security Administration employees protested the government shutdown outside Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Thursday afternoon.

The workers marched in a circle and carried signs outside the airport. They demanded that the government reopen. Protesters shouted chants. One person yelled, “What do we want?” Others replied, “Government funding.” One person shouted, “When do we want it?” And the employees responded, “Now. Together, protesters chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the lockout has got to go.”

Their signs touted messages about the ways others could assist, the impact of the partial shutdown on workers’ families – and finally, the need for the workers to be paid.

Shutdown May Force TSA Employees to Leave

Their last paycheck was three weeks ago, and there is no resolution in sight to the government shutdown. Some TSA employees have quit. Others are seriously considering leaving.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council President is Hydrick Thomas. Tomas said that the loss of officers, “will create a massive security risk for American travelers.”

The AFGE on December 31 filed a lawsuit against the federal government. The AFGE alleged that requiring federal employees to work without pay during the shutdown was actually illegal. The national president of AFGE, David Cox, says working without pay is “nothing short of inhumane.”

Thomas says if the government doesn’t reopen soon, there will be increased wait time for travelers. But TSA Assistant Administrator Michael Bilello stated in tweet that security is uncompromised.

While the shutdown began on December 22, the TSA employees did receive paychecks on December 28. However, they will not receive paychecks on January 11if the government doesn’t reopen immediately.

Over the last few years, government shutdowns have become more common than ever. While it may be tempting to normalize these things, it’s important to remember that each shutdown has real impacts on peoples’ lives all across the country.

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