Furloughed TSA workers on Wednesday staged a demonstration at Sacramento International Airport. The protest is aimed at the partial government shutdown, now in its 26th day, which the American Federation of Government Employees say is depriving government workers of their paychecks. Local TSA workers missed their first paycheck yesterday, while reports indicate workers are calling in sick at a higher rate.
Other government workers affected by the shutdown joined the TSA in calling for an end to the shutdown. They braved wet, windy conditions outside terminal A Wednesday at lunch time. Phil Miedema was set to retire from the Coast Guard at the end of this year but now he finds himself in limbo. "My retirement paperwork is not being processed. I had vacation pay due to me that I thought would carry me over. That's tied up as well. So I'm just not spending money," Miedema told KFBK.
Alex Serette echoed what many at the airport were saying, bipartisan bills to open the government are ready and waiting for the senate to take action. "It is appalling that we cannot get a deal done. Senator (Mitch) McConnell needs to call a vote and end this shutdown before something catastrophic happens. That is my number one fear right now," Serette said.
Governor Newsom announced last week during his state budget presentation that furloughed federal employees would be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Jonah Paul came to the airport Wednesday to support friends who are furloughed. He's worried less about politics than he is about real life issues. "These contracts are expiring to support Section 8 vouchers. Section 8 recipients are going to be unhoused soon. It's just disgusting. It really needs to end immediately," said Paul.
The union is calling on TSA officers to call their legislators and demand the government be reopened. Since the shutdown, there has been a higher-than-usual number of TSA officers calling in sick, creating frustration at some airports across the country, though a spokeswoman for the Sacramento County Department of Airports said earlier this week that there have been no TSA related problems to this point at Sacramento International.