TSA Agents are still working for free

Juan Casas, Courier Staff

We are currently in the longest federal government shutdown in history. Many government employees have gone weeks without pay, including members of the TSA.

TSA agents are an important part of the airport system and having more agents help airport checkpoints move a lot more smoothly. The lack of pay has led to a number of government employees including TSA agents to call in sick to work, some of which work very important jobs and professions. While I don’t condone people calling into work when they’re needed, I wouldn’t want to come into work if I wasn’t getting paid either. These are people’s livelihoods and they have bills to pay, they’re not going to waste their time doing work they don’t know if they’ll get back pay for. A significant number of TSA agents have called in sick across the country. In fact one Miami airport is saying they have to shutdown a whole terminal due to the number of call-offs. I feel that more airports will have to result to similar measures if things don’t change soon.

No one is blaming the workers though. They’ve been used as pawns in a situation without their permission and without any disregard for how it will affect them. Individuals who have necessary federal jobs like the TSA and other agencies should not be expected to do their duties without pay. Anyone who worked any job would probably not come in if they were told they wouldn’t be getting paid, most

people don’t work for the simple pleasure of doing something. Not everyone is lucky enough to work just to pass time. Many of these federal employees have created GoFundMe pages and found other methods of getting money to pay bills. With the end of this stalemate nowhere in sight it may be wise for them to start looking at employment in other places or in the private sector. That way they would still be able to make money to support their families.

Both sides are holding firm and attempts at compromise have been futile. The sad part is that it’s not Congress or the president being affected but the federal employees and everyday citizens who are taking the brunt of it. The FDA stated that it can only now regulate the necessities (dairy, meat, canned foods, baby food, etc.) as it doesn’t have the resources for their normal amount of regulations. The ability to receive tax returns has come into question as people may have to wait months to get their money. Food stamps and WIC have also been affected. You know there’s a problem when WIC is not able to run, which means some babies may not be getting the food they need.

Living in Illinois, we’re not new to government budget impasses. We finally got a state budget, which doesn’t seem too long ago based on how long we went without it, and now the federal government can’t agree on one. Let’s hope this shut down comes to an end soon.