TSA, Officer And Chicago discussed on NPR's Business Story of the Day
Air travelers are used to flight delays and cancellations because of the weather maybe mechanical problems. Well, it soon might be the partial government shutdown that is disrupting travel new planes are not being certified to fly security screeners and air traffic controllers are working unpaid. Here's more from NPR's, David Schaper in Chicago. I'm here Chicago's O'Hare airport. Standing next to one of the large CT eighty scanners. It's essentially a CAT scanner for your checked luggage. And the TSA officers who operate this machine. They're here at work lifting the heavy and sometimes odd shaped and overstuffed bags onto the conveyor belt to go through the machine. Even though come this Friday, if the shutdown continues, they won't get paid. And that presents a severe financial hardship for many of these officers. I've been here sixteen years. Plus, I am a single mom Christine vitality. The security screener at O'Hare with a in college. And she's trying to figure out how she'll pay his tuition, and I. Just bought a house. I'm not going to pay my mortgage a lot of the office. They live paycheck to paycheck. Janice, Casey is president of the union local representing TSA employees in Chicago. And she notes that are among the lowest paid federal employee. Some average thirty six to forty three thousand dollars a year, but start only in the mid twenties and for some TSA workers in their families, the situation could get dire rather quickly. There's no check on the twenty six I have no idea what we're gonna do thirty six year old. You Cindy's husband is a TSA officer in Portland, we're not using your last name because she fears. He could be fired. They have two kids a six month old girl in a boy turning four of the end of this month. Yes. Into says, they are planning to buy a few presents and decorations to celebrate. But now, they can't Iran's. Do the electric Bill is to our cell phones are now passed to you soon to says her husband's hiring by the TSA three years ago helped lift the family out of poverty. Now, she fears. The shutdown. We'll set them back and scared, and I'm trying to be okay. 'cause I can't be out everyday from like heavy stressed out. Because it affects how parents you know, my husband's stressed out to and you had to go to work and deal with it at work. And you know, he knows he's working for free, which is ridiculous. More ridiculous agenda says that he came home the other day with instructions on how to file for unemployment while he still working forty hours a week. And the situation is not much better for higher paid essential government workers like air traffic controllers at the very high stretch job. And you need to be on your game at all times mic divine is with the national air traffic controllers association in Boston. He says the shutdown is forcing controllers to make tough financial decisions and weighs on them heavily. There is a concern that has this goes on that the human factors aspects of this shutdown will take a toll on the psyche and the concentration level of our members. And they do the best job that they can't eat every day. Nearly twenty percent of the F as ten thousand air traffic controllers are eligible to retire and union leaders say some might do that rather than continue to work during the shutdown. There are also concerns that many of the nation's fifty one thousand TSA employees. Will quit and find work. Elsewhere rather than continue to work without pay already a greater number than usual. Been calling in sick and only some FAA safety. Inspectors are working right now. We're starting to see the beginning. Tremors of a situation will only get worse over time. Captain Dennis tasers pilot for American Airlines at a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association. He says many planes are not being inspected and pilot training is not being certified we are able to maintain a margin of safety and security. But everyday another player is pulled off the field in a comes some point where the game cannot be played properly back in O'Hare air, travelers are expressing concerns to here's Erica west guard of Indian land, Florida, if TSA's affected in lines get longer work could get sloppier. They might not be checking things as well. And that's always a concern for safety. But Ray Ortiz. Who just arrived on a business trip? From New York says he hasn't seen any ill effects from the shutdown yet I flew out of JFK today. Like, I actually showed up early because I thought the wait times might might be very long, but it was actually really short today. Nonetheless, Ortiz and other air travelers and industry insiders worried that as the shutdown continues. There could be a tipping point where safety and security could be compromised. We're operations could slow in a commercial aviation system. Already plagued by delays. David Schaper, NPR news, Chicago.