TSA sickouts, officers is up slightly during this partial government shutdown.
Are absences of Transportation Security Administration officers slowing down airport screening lines? Depends on whom you ask. The TSA says no there’s little or no difference in staffing levels. But other air-travel organizations are citing delays and at least one travel expert is warning fliers to give themselves an extra half an hour. In an announcement on voicemail accessed on Tuesday, a TSA spokesman, who did not identify himself, acknowledged that absences are up slightly among its 51,000 officers. On Monday, he said, the agency counted 4.6% of officers out with unscheduled absences. That compares with 3.8% on the same day a year ago, reports the Los Angeles Times.
While absences by TSA security officers is up slightly during this partial government shutdown, it does not appear that air travelers are being impacted in a major way – yet. TSA employees are asked to continue working despite the possibility that they may not get paid as scheduled on Friday. Union representatives warn that missed paychecks may cause workers to leave the agency to seek employment elsewhere if the shutdown persists. That will likely cause serious delays or lax screenings if there aren’t enough workers to keep passenger processing moving smoothly.