Working without pay, that’s the reality for hundreds of thousands of federal employees as the partial government shutdown continues.
“I would have a hard time working knowing that I am doing it for free,” says passenger Brittany Tyson.
“Man that is incredible,” Chase Nelson, another passenger, adds. “Show up and work for free?”
On a busy Monday afternoon, that is exactly what TSA workers did at Eisenhower National Airport in Wichita.
“I was very surprised. I thought that was impossible people coming to work and working for free,” Nelson says.
According to top officials from TSA in Washington D.C., there are 80 TSA workers at Eisenhower Airport who are not being paid. In the state of Kansas, there are 140.
“I don’t know if I would,” says Tyson.
“I really admire that,” adds Tung Nguyen. Nguyen is traveling to India. “Very, very important we need them.”
The Transportation Security Administration says the shutdown has had a minimal effect on travel times. On Sunday, TSA screened 2.2 million travelers in the U.S. Just 99.8 percent of passengers waited 30 minutes, and 90.1 percent of passengers waited less than 15 minutes.
“To make sure the job gets done and security is taken care of, that is an incredible factor,” says Nelson.
Travelers, many who did not know these agents were unpaid, are happy to have them still show up.
“You can easily take it for granted,” explains Tyson.
The 80 TSA agents in Wichita will eventually be back paid once the shutdown is lifted. Officials in Washington tell KSN the administration is working to get appropriations this week that would allow workers to be paid by Friday. There is still no guarantee that will happen.