Minneapolis Airport Hiring TSA Staff But Can't Pay Them, and Other Shutdown News
Amid the partial shutdown of the US government, Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport is holding a hiring event this Saturday to fill 40 open positions for TSA screeners. The event is designed to "fast-track" the application process and get applicants three-quarters of the way through the hiring process in one day. The positions have newly raised screener starting wage of $18.38 per hour. Although paydays won't kick in until after the shutdown.“We will get paid and [the shutdown] will end at some point. And when it does, it can be a very rewarding opportunity,” said TSA Federal Director for Minnesota Cliff Van Leuven.
Although reports say airports across the country have had TSA staffing issues during the shutdown, the hiring event was actually scheduled before the shutdown was declared. Van Leuven told CBS Minnesota that the airport and TSA might have put the event on hold if several busy travel periods like spring break, the Final Four and the summer season, weren't around the corner. The event will take place at the TSA Administrative Offices in Bloomington, located at 2001 Killebrew Drive #400. Running from 8am to 2pm, the process usually takes between three to five hours to complete. MSP hasn't been one of the airports heavily affected by the shutdown, reporting regular security wait times and attendance from employees.
In other government-shutdown news:
- ATL calls for backup
It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been among the hardest hit institutions by the government shutdown. Amid the long lines, delays and shortage of TSA officers, the National Deployment Force (NDF) reportedly had to fly out 20 extra TSA officers to help fill the gap.
In an email, TSA spokesperson Thomas Kelly said that the additional officers were deployed in an effort to "optimize resources, manage consolidation efforts, and ensure screening lanes are properly staffed." Hopefully, these measures can clear up some of the ATL airport congestion for the time being.
- TSA Workers Stiffed a $500 Bonus
TSA workers are reporting that they have yet to receive one day's worth of back pay and an additional bonus they were promised.
On Friday, TSA administrator David Pekoske sent an email out to TSA agents stating that they would be compensated for the shift they worked on Dec. 22 because it was not part of the paycheck that is currently being held for the shutdown. They would also receive a $500 bonus for working through the holidays.
However, when the pay date rolled around on Tuesday, workers did not receive the compensation they were expecting. Some workers reported that they received partial paychecks, but they did not accurately cover all the hours they worked on Dec. 22. Despite this, TSA spokesperson Tom Kelly told BuzzFeed News that the payments should have gone through. “It was processed after it was signed off by the administrator, and they should have gotten it yesterday or the day before. I wouldn’t know why somebody wouldn’t have gotten their pay,” Kelly said. “I’m certain that if they bring it to their local leadership then it will be worked out.”
- Newark Protests
While it is prohibited by law for TSA agents to go on strike, airport workers have been fighting the government shutdown through protests. A group could be found last night outside Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), handing out pamphlets and urging travelers to contact their elected officials.
Newark ATC was already facing a staffing shortage prior to the shutdown, which is now only worsening with the number of callouts increasing each day. Protests like this have been popping up throughout the country — Cleveland (CLE) employees handed out fliers and spoke with travelers in a similar manner outside of the airport Tuesday and Dallas (DFW) held a rally for TSA and ATC agents last night.