Shutdown strain could lead to longer airport lines
Working without pay for weeks! While the battle over the partial government shutdown takes place in Washington D-C, it's putting a strain on people here in Hawaii.
Working without pay for weeks!
While the battle over the partial government shutdown takes place in Washington D-C, it's putting a strain on people here in Hawaii.
Transportation Security Administration employees tell KITV 4, so far there hasn't been much of an increase in checkpoint lines at Hawaii's main airport. But that could change as the stress of working without being paid takes its toll on these island residents.
The line to get through the TSA checkpoint periodically snakes out to the street at the inter island terminal of the Daniel K inouye Airport.
But it could get worse, according to TSA workers, some of the thousands in Hawaii directly affected by the government shutdown.
"We have been coming to work day after day for 3 weeks now without getting paid," said American Federation of Government Employees Chief Union Steward Joshua Christie.
As the number of days in the shutdown add up, so do the bills for hundreds of airport workers.
"People are not going to be able to pay their mortgage, for child care, food and gas. That's cruelty, just cruelty," said
AFGE National Organizer Lisa Marie Akau.
"They stressing. They are looking for other work. There have been some sick calls with regards for looking for other types of employment, and using their days off to look for new jobs," added Christie.
This isn't the first time TSA workers have dealt with a shutdown, there have been several over the past few years, including a 16 day shutdown in 2013, 2 brief ones last year, and the latest - which has gone on for nearly 3 weeks.
Because they are important federal employees, TSA personnel have to show up to work even though they won't get a paycheck, can't take vacation days or use sick time during the shutdown.
At the federal detention center, employees are not only working without pay, but they have also been forced to work extra.
"Right now a lot of the officers are put on mandated work and staying an extra shift. They end up working 16 hours. It doesn't happen just 1 or 2 times, it is kind of regular.," said Local 1218 President Dwayne Bautista.
Federal workers said they are frustrated because there is so much uncertainty, over when the shutdown will end and when a paycheck will finally arrive.
Bautista adds the center was in the process of hiring more employees before the shutdown, that is on hold - just like everything else until the shutdown is over.
"It does affect a lot of people's morale. With the government shutdown emotions run high. We are already in a stressful environment and top it off with what's going, we have to rely on each other and say we'll get by," added Bautista.
Both union representatives say the longer the shutdown lasts, the more employees will look for alternate work or end up calling in sick because of the burnout. That could led to longer lines at the airport, especially over the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, and could lead to staffing problems at the detention center.
Christie tells me the traveling public have been understanding over TSA workers doing their job without getting paid. Some have even shown aloha: offering to pay for their lunch as a way to help. But he adds they are not allowed to take food or money from travelers..
He wants to remind travelers to give themselves even more time at the airport, because of the shutdown, especially on busy travel days.