Due to “uncertainties” created by the ongoing partial government shutdown, Miami International Airport closed one of its terminals throughout the weekend. The cause of the uncertainty? Too many Transportation Security Administration screeners are not showing up.
“Due to an increased number of TSA screeners not reporting to work, we have decided to take this precautionary step and relocate about 12 flights to adjoining concourses in the afternoons,” airport spokesman Greg Shin told CNN.
Concourse G will be closed after 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and flights will be relocated to concourses F and H. Travelers are advised to check in on the MIA website, and arrive two hours before their departure (three hours for international flights).
TSA spokesman Michael Bilello acknowledged Friday that the shutdown is affecting the agency’s workforce.
In an effort to optimize resources without degrading screening and security effectiveness, where it is feasible, TSA is working with key stakeholders and industry partners to explore efforts to consolidate officers and operations.
— Michael Bilello (@TSA_Bilello) January 11, 2019
The average salary for a TSA employee is $40,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown,” said Hydrick Thomas, TSA Council 100 president and AFGE Local 2222 president. “The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires. Our TSOs already do an amazing job without the proper staffing levels, but if this keeps up there are problems that will arise – least of which would be increased wait times for travelers.”
The AFGE is suing the government on the grounds that employees are being forced to work without pay.