BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The most visible federal workers at BWI-Marshall are working without pay due to the government shutdown, as bills begin piling up and savings start taking a hit.
It’s an economic domino effect that’s triggering one anxiety after another.
Union workers gathered to share their experiences with Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin.
“Oh you know, you’re supposed to have 3-6 months savings,” said TSA Union member Lamar Cobb. “But that’s hard when you’re not making that much to have 3-6 months savings.”
It wasn’t just TSA workers speaking out but FAA employees in charge of airline safety inspections as well.
“Every day we are missing workers who are discouraged to come to work because they aren’t getting paid,” said FAA employee Dimeka Thornton. “So that creates an effect where we have to triple the work-load in order to get the job done”
Air traffic controllers are also working without pay at control centers and airports nationwide.
“Safety is the nucleus of our job,” said Mamie Ambrose of the Air Trafic Controllers Union “and this culture gets degraded once we’re on the job thinking of credit scores, mortgages, child care.”
Among TSA workers, sick calls have risen 54 percent over last year.
That still only represents five percent of the agency’s workforce but it has led to some terminal closings in Florida and Texas.
The worry is that mounting financial stress could lead to cracks in safety.
“That’s what’s at stake here,” said Ben Cardin. “This shutdown needs to end now.”
Cardin believes that there are votes in Congress to do just that and perhaps even override a presidential veto if the Republican-controlled Senate allows a vote to be taken.