Anchorage TSA workers work unpaid despite 'sickout'
At Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, it's been business as usual for Transportation Security Administration workers – even as some of their Outside colleagues take part in a so-called "sickout."
These are far from normal times for TSA workers. They remain on the job under federal law, despite going unpaid due to the partial shutdown of the federal government.
Many airports nationwide have dealt with longer lines, due to TSA workers who have called in sick because of the lack of pay. It's a different scene in Anchorage.
"There's been no reported cases," said Dave Owens the national representative of the American Federation of Government Employees District 11. The union represents Alaska workers at federal agencies including the TSA.
The national union does not support a sickout by its members.
"It's against the law, we can't do it," Owens said.
Congress and President Trump are racing the clock to strike a deal ending the shutdown by Wednesday. Otherwise, it's bad news for these workers.
"This is the first Friday these employees will not get a paycheck," Owens said.
That could create even more problems, especially if the shutdown is protracted.
"Can you imagine going six months without a paycheck?" Owens asked. "And you're still required to work and work, pay your mortgage, pay your gas, pay your food? It's ridiculous."
Owens is also concerned if the partial shutdown enters a second month.
"Let me tell you, what happens if they get another job, because they're not getting paid?" Owens said, wondering who would take their place to protect passengers when they fly.
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