The TSA, deemed essential by the government, has been working without pay – but many employees are calling in sick to avoid going into work. Forbes reports:
Security lines at airports across the country are starting to grow long as nationwide action from Transportation Security Agency (TSA) workers starts to take its toll. On Friday, CNN reported that the agency, which is responsible for operating security checkpoints at airports across the country, was suffering from staffing shortages as a function of the government shutdown. According to the report, TSA agents have been calling in sick in record numbers during the shutdown in protest of withheld pay. Frontline staff at the agency have worked without pay since the shutdown began, though they expect to be paid in full after the government resumes operations.
The shutdown is also affecting staffing levels in air traffic control towers, though those absences have been less in the public eye.
Starting on Sunday, the sickouts appeared to be having an impact on wait times at a handful of typically-busy security checkpoints. At New York’s LaGuardia airport, passengers passing through Terminal C, which is primarily inhabited by Delta Air Lines, were subject to wait times of around 90 minutes. TSA Precheck, the service that typically expedites pre-cleared passengers through security, was also closed at that checkpoint.
On Sunday morning, lines at Seattle Tacoma had already started to build: