TSA agents calling out of work in wake of government shutdown

Posted: Updated:
NEWARK -

Two weeks into the federal government shutdown and parts of the United States are starting to see some effect of workers not getting paid.

Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration agents have been calling out of work during the shutdown. TSA agents are considered “essential” employees, so they are supposed to report for work even without getting paid.

A spokesperson for TSA says, "Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change."

But spokesman Michael Bilello says that wait times at security may be affected depending on the number of call outs.

RELATED: Trump says shutdown could last for 'months or even years' 
RELATED: No indication Democrats will budge on border wall fight 

Some travelers at Newark Liberty International Airport say that they understand why the agents would be calling out of work.

“I do feel for the guys,” says traveler Matthew Sutton. “If they don’t get paid, I can admit I probably wouldn’t turn up for work at all if I don’t get paid either.”

So far the call outs have been seen at JFK, Dallas Fort Worth, Charlotte and Raleigh airports. TSA and Homeland Security have been without funding since Dec. 22.

President Donald Trump has said he won't lift the government shutdown until he gets funding for a wall on the United States and Mexico border. Democratic opposition has said the two issues shouldn't be tied together. A meeting Friday in Washington between leaders saw no progress toward ending the shutdown.

TSA officials said they are grateful to the agents who are showing up to work. They said that agents will eventually be compensated.

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