Airports seeing rise in TSA screeners calling off work

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

Checkpoint operations performed by Transportation Security Administration officers were called "routine" Saturday at BWI Marshall Airport.

North Carolina airports, including Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, have experienced 10% higher TSA call outs, according to Mac Johnson, the local union president.

The TSA said in a statement Friday that call outs that began over the holiday period have increased.

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman lashed out at CNN on Friday, labeling as "fake news" the network's report that hundreds of Transportation Security Administration screeners at the nation's airports have been staging a "sick out" this week amid the partial government shutdown.

TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said traveler "wait times remain well within TSA standards", but admitted that could change if TSA agent absences increase.

And while officials say it hasn't affected the quality of security measures, airline travelers may start feeling the burdens of the political showdown between President Donald Trump and lawmakers. Officers from a morning shift were required to work extra hours to cover the gaps. 'Overall, 99.8 percent waited less than 30 minutes'.

They say TSA employees who are now working will eventually be paid once the shutdown is over.

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And it appears that an increasing number of them aren't having it anymore.

The partial shutdown came after President Trump and Democratic lawmakers failed to reach a funding agreement for the government that included money for a wall along the US-Mexico border. And as somebody who sure as fuck doesn't work for free, I don't fault any of these people for chucking the deuce and staying their unpaid asses on the couch.

Trump planned to meet with congressional leaders at 11 a.m. Saturday for more negotiations. Yesterday, TSA screened over 2.2 million passengers.

The big question is "How are they filling the void?" said one of the veteran TSA officials, voicing concern about the impact on security. "TSA is grateful to the agents who show up to work, remain focused on the mission and respectful to the traveling public". "If you're not seeing long wait times at airports, there's something on the security side they're not doing".

With a 4 percent increase in air passengers over the past few years, CNN reported that a veteran TSA official warned it may not all be positive if lines aren't getting longer.

Officers could even be forced to loosen standards for checked baggage, experts told CNN.

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