Air traffic controllers call for an end to the federal government shutdown

Posted: Updated:
NEWARK -

Air traffic controllers were out at Newark Liberty International Airport Tuesday to call for an end to the federal government shutdown.

Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association passed out pamphlets to travelers at Terminal C explaining how the shutdown would impact them and airport operations.

The controllers are required to work during the shutdown without pay because they are seemed “essential” workers. They say the skies are still safe. But the longer the shutdown continues, the more impact it will have on things like training, maintenance and even flight delays.

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“The academy in Oklahoma City is shutdown now so they’re not going to be having new controllers in the pipes. And people are still retiring and there's not going to be anybody there to replace them,” says local union representative Bill Striffler.

Striffler says that he has a new baby on the way and a mortgage to pay.

“It is starting to create some uneasiness and a distraction…and that’s not what we want. We want to get back to safely and efficiently moving aircraft and know that we’re going to have a paycheck to pay our bills and protect our families,” he says.

Union members say that they will continue to hand out the pamphlets at airports in the area and across the country until the shutdown ends. They say that they will only be doing this on their days off or before or after their shifts.

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