Shutdown strain could lead to longer airport lines

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In an apparent effort to raise the spirits of those tasked with keep the country's airports safe, TSA Administrator David Pekoske announced on Friday that his uniformed screening officers would soon receive a one-time bonus of $500 "in recognition of their hard work during yet another busy holiday travel season, maintaining the highest of security standards during an extraordinary period".

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) noted that if a significant number of air traffic controllers missed work, the Federal Aviation Administration could be forced to extend the amount of time between takeoffs and landings at airports in the US.

The airport said that on Saturday, Sunday and Monday it will end flights at 1 p.m. from Concourse G and relocate them to either to Concourse F or Concourse H. Miami is the 14th busiest US airport, handling 20 million passengers annually.

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.

The TSA considers a normal wait time on security line 30 minutes or less.

"TSA officers are among the lowest paid federal employees, with many living paycheck-to-paycheck", Thompson wrote.

Starting Saturday, flights scheduled to fly from Terminals G after 1 p.m. through the same time on Sunday and Monday, will be relocated to Terminals F or H. The change is a "precautionary measure and to better utilize the decreased staffing", Chin said.

Last week, AFGE launched a lawsuit against the federal government for forcing federal employees to show up to work uncompensated, calling the demands "inhumane".

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Bilello said they were monitoring the situation closely, but that so far "call-outs" appeared to be minor.

Gerald said he became concerned when he noticed TSA employees at LAX did not ask passengers to remove their shoes to go through security. Now, some are quitting altogether, their union says. The suit also claims the FAA didn't promptly pay overtime to union members, an oversight the union said is also in violation of regulations.

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

Brad Boettcher, with Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, said those issues haven't popped up locally.

On average, TSA employees make between $25,518 to $38,277 a year and many live paycheck to paycheck.

Security delays could mean missed flights for passengers.

You may be asking why Miami Airport is expecting itself to be short staffed if TSA personnel are essential.

Cox argued that compared with other agencies, the workers are facing tougher conditions and lackluster wages, making the shutdown especially grueling.

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