National Air Traffic Controllers Association Sues US Government

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Numerous more than 51,000 screeners can not afford to lose their weekly pay and may not come to work.

An XNA official told 5NEWS that wait times for passengers and the work ethic of staff members not now being paid hasn't significantly changed so far.

Terminal B ticketing and security checkpoint at George Bush Intercontinental Airport is now closed due to a shortage of TSA workers, who are not being paid due to the US government shutdown.

On Sunday, TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello said 7.7 percent of the agency's employees had an unscheduled absence today, compared with 5.6 percent on Saturday and 3.2 percent a year ago.

There were no visible protests from employees, and passengers said there was no impact on wait times.

In similar shutdowns, Congress and the White House have always agreed to pay back wages to government employees, though some contractors haven't been paid in arrears.

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This weekend, concourse G at Miami Airport will close at 1 pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

But that could change as the stress of working without being paid takes its toll on these island residents.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers assist travelers with luggage through a security screening area during a partial federal government shutdown, December 31, 2018, in SeaTac, Wash.

"We were concerned, so we actually left 30 minutes earlier than we planned to leave because we weren't sure what effect it would have here at the airport", Thomas said.

NATCA also moved for a court order requiring the government to restore air traffic controllers' pay while the lawsuit is pending. "If the staffing shortage gets worse, we will see reduced capacity in the National Airspace System, meaning more flight delays", Rinaldi said.

At New York's LaGuardia Airport, fliers had to wait in almost hour-long security lines on Sunday.

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Longer lines would alienate travelers and could push more airports to replace government employees with privately contracted screening agents.

Jenniffer Gonzalez said Friday that the island still has not received $2.5 billion in funds even though more than a year has passed since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm. Airports in San Francisco and Kansas City already do that, with approval from the Transportation Department.

Pittsburgh International Airport delivered lunches to TSA workers and air traffic controllers on Friday and plans to do it every Friday until the shutdown ends.

In 2016 — when TSA was understaffed at many airports, creating lines long enough to make many travelers miss their flights — other airports explored hiring contractors.

People who fly out of Chattanooga's Airport know getting through security is typically a breeze.

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