Hundreds of TSA screeners call out sick at major airports amid shutdown

Minnie Murray
January 7, 2019

Citing "two senior agency officials and three TSA employee union officials", CNN claimed "hundreds" of TSA agents at four major USA airports participated in a "sick out", a retaliatory measure for being forced to work without pay.

According to CNN, "hundreds of TSA screeners" have called in sick, including at four major airports.

According to a Friday CNN report, the mass call-outs have hit New York's JFK, Texas' Dallas-Fort Worth and North Carolina's Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham airports.

How did the DHS respond?

So far, he said, his colleagues are only calling out sick "here and there".

"To date, screening wait times remain well within TSA standards", he added.

That comes amid reports of agents calling out sick during the federal government's partial shutdown. "Obviously, it's something we will keep a close eye on", Mehigan said in a phone interview Saturday morning. Gregory said that on Thursday, 2.2 million passengers passed through TSA checkpoints and 99.8 percent of them waited less than 30 minutes. That means leaving plenty of time to get to the airport, check in, make it through security and get to your gate. "Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance stands will not change".

TSA spokesman Michael Bilello also tried to quash the rumors but inadvertently confirmed them, revealing that a full 5.5 percent of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport's TSA force called in sick on Friday - significantly more than the typical 3.5 percent.

The statement said TSA is "closely monitoring the situation" and "grateful to the agents who show up to work, remain focused on the mission and respectful to the traveling public as they continue the important work necessary to secure the nation's transportation systems". Even if you're waiting in a long line, it still pays to be ready when it's your turn to go through security screening, both in order to get to your gate faster and to speed things along for your fellow travelers. Democrats, empowered by a decisive victory in last year's midterm elections, have dismissed Trump's demands.

For now, Donald Trump and congressional leaders have met but have yet to find a resolution that will end the shutdown. The big question is whether the sick-outs will increase as the shutdown continues. That means TSA officials at airports around the country - cognizant that long security lines frustrate passengers - could have tough decisions to make, including whether to let passengers board flights with less scrutiny.

If you have a flight to the USA coming up, you might want to give yourself a little extra time at the airport.

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