RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - TSA officers, along with the 420,000 essential employees impacted by the shutdown, are expected to miss their first paycheck Friday, as the stalemate in Washington continues.
The strain has caused some TSA officers to quit, and many more are now considering it, according to national TSA union leaders.
"It's frustrating, it's stressful,” said one federal employee at Richmond International Airport who asked to remain anonymous. "Am I going to have to borrow money from family? Are they going to be able to help me?"
Missing a paycheck will cripple some families, according to Scott Robinson, the TSA local union representative for the 150 screeners at RIC.
“The majority of our workforce does work paycheck-to-paycheck. And it is just tremendously distressing to single-parents, and those with single-income households, who are being affected by this.”
Robinson said the average salary for TSA employees is about $40,000. Some screeners are sending their kids to live with relatives. Others said they’re living off savings and only making essential purchases. Robinson says he’s starting a food and necessities drive for employees impacted by the shutdown.
“This is definitely an emergency situation for all TSA employees, especially the most vulnerable,” added Robinson. National reports say TSA officers are calling out sick, or quitting altogether, impacting some airports.
“For me, it’s the lack of respect,” said Brenda, another federal employee at RIC who will miss a paycheck. “They tell me to be a good patriot, to be a good citizen. And then they don’t respect me enough to make sure I can meet my basic needs. So, it’s not just the money. It’s greater than that.”
TSA national union leaders say a loss of TSA officers will create a serious security risk for American flyers, or at minimum delays, which have been reported by workers at some airports.
The Trump administration refutes those reports, saying there has been no lapse in security and that the average wait times are well within TSA standards.