NEW YORK (AP) — The federal agency tasked with guaranteeing U.S. airport security acknowledged an increase in the number of its employees calling off work during the partial government shutdown.
Employees of the Transportation Security Administration are expected to work without pay during the shutdown because their jobs are considered essential.
The TSA said in a statement Friday that call-outs that began over the holiday period have increased. The agency did not say how many employees have called out, but it said the call-outs have had “minimal impact given that there are 51,739 employees supporting the screening process. TSA is closely monitoring the situation. Security effectiveness will not be compromised.”
White House officials and congressional aides were in talks Saturday to end the shutdown, which entered its 15th day. Negotiations are at an impasse over Trump’s demands for $5.6 billion to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
TSA spokesman Michael Bilello tweeted that 5.5% of the TSA workforce at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport called out Friday, compared with 3.5% on a normal day. He said wait times “may be affected” but that screening would proceed as normal.
Hydrick Thomas, president of the national TSA employee union, said up to 170 TSA employees at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport have called out each day this week. Union officials did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.