As we enter the 16th day of our partial government shutdown—our third longest ever—with no resolution in sight, our country has inched closer to chaos as food stamps, HIV research, tax returns, and other priorities of the American public have been imperiled.
But for federal employees who aren’t salaried, that’s 16 days (and counting) with no back pay, whether they actually went to work or not. And as somebody who sure as fuck doesn’t work for free, I don’t fault any of these people for chucking the deuce and staying their unpaid asses on the couch.
Which apparently is exactly what’s happening in airports throughout the country since TSA agents want no parts of finding .38-caliber derringers in your luggage for free.
Airport security workers around the country are opting to call in sick rather than work without pay, widening the ripple effects of the partial government shutdown to include travelers and everyday Americans.
According to union leaders, hundreds of employees with the Transportation Security Administration called out of work at major airports across the country this week, with TSA officials acknowledging the uptick in absent employees on Friday.
And while officials say it hasn’t affected the quality of security measures, airline travelers may start feeling the burdens of the political showdown between President Donald Trump and lawmakers.
“Wait times may be affected depending on the number of call outs,” a TSA spokesperson said in a statement this week, adding that the screenings will “remain well within TSA standards.”
Per regulations, airport checkpoints must take a maximum of 30 minutes for regular screenings and 10 minutes for premium passengers. Which, as of Thursday, average screening times still met those requirements. But that’s not to say the results of this so-called “Blue Flu” haven’t been devastating.
As Slate reports, more than 150 TSA employees called out sick on Friday at Kennedy International Airport in New York, while Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport saw the number of TSA officers who called out sick skyrocket by 200 to 300 percent.
While this could be perceived as a form of protest, union officials believe it’s far more likely that TSA employees are hustling elsewhere to pay their rent. Like driving Ubers or selling their kidneys on the black market.
But hopefully this shutdown concludes soon, as it’s painfully evident that the Trump Administration has no contingency plans in place for the irreparable harm a long-term shutdown could potentially inflict upon our country.