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T.S.A. Agents refuse to work during decommissioning, which increases fear of the airport's turmoil

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The partial decommissioning of the federal government is beginning to affect air travel as an increasing number of security agents refuse to work without pay.

So far, the impact on air travel has been relatively limited without significant disturbances. But the airport's workers and travelers are worried that the conditions will worsen if the death stream continues and throws up turmoil.

At least one airport, Miami International Airport, will close a terminal early every day, starting on Saturday due to a lack of screeners employed by the Transportation Security Administration, said Greg Chin, an airport spokesman.

Mr. Chin said agents had called sick to double the normal rate this week, leaving their supervisor worried that they would not have enough agents to run all of the airport's 11 security checkpoints.

T.S.A. officials assigned Friday with the airline's executives and airport managers to decide whether to consolidate screening operations at other airports to cope with heavier passenger traffic over the weekend, said Michael Bilello, a T.S.A. spokesman.

The 51,000 airport security agents of the nation are among the federal employees who have been ordered to work through the partial decommissioning, which began on December 22.

On Friday, they missed their first payslip since it started a lapse that their Union leaders feared, would cause more of them to stop working or even leave their jobs.

Hydrick Thomas, TSA's Presidential Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, said this week that "extreme economic hardship" had driven some of his members to resign and many others would consider doing the.

The agents earn about $ 35,000 a year, on average, officials said. "We have people working from paycheck to paycheck and there are very few of them," said Vincent R. Castellano, National Vice President of the Second District of the Association, which includes the Northeast.

Near Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, a church sponsored food pantry, has provided food to TSA workers, said Jessica Whichard, a spokeswoman for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Ms Whichard said the White Oak Foundation had requested more food than usual from the food bank so that it could distribute some of it to airport workers.

The workers, many of them still in their T.S.A. uniforms after completing their shifts, proved to gather food on a temporary pantry foundation set up in a parking lot near the airport, said Kathleen Lee, director of services for the foundation. She said the foundation would continue to offer food to federal employees twice a week at the White Oak Missionary Baptist Church in Cary, N.C., for "as long as necessary".

Ms. Lee said the workers were not sheepish to accept the handouts. She said one of them told her: "If I get free groceries, then I can pay my bill."

[Interruptions felt by the Americans in very different ways. For some it is invisible; for others it is inevitable.]

Despite the decommissioning and the difficulties it causes security agents, federal officials said the passengers had not encountered major problems navigating security checkpoints.

After the holiday jump, the airline industry is entering a period where the number of people flying is generally lower than in other parts of the year.

However, if decommissioning continues, concern among industry officials is that agents will be pressured to find paying jobs elsewhere, leading to staff shortages

Airport security officers have already raised concerns about their financial situation.

"It gets harder to come every day and know you're not paid, but it's my job and I knew when I started this job that this would potentially happen," a 37-year-old woman said. there is a screener at Los Angeles International Airport. "So I come in, but if there is any other reason I should call, I won't hesitate to do it."

As many other screeners interviewed for this article, she declined to be identified because she said she had been warned against talking to journalists.

"It's hard to budget things like food or know what bills to pay when you simply don't know when you're getting money back," said a 29-year-old man working for TSA at O ​​& # 39; Hare International Airport in Chicago.

He said he had contacted his banks, mortgage companies and other creditors, but none of them had a program to help in his situation. The Department of Homeland Security distributed letters to its employees to show the landlords and explained that "they will hardly be able to pay for their homes for the foreseeable future," but they have little help, he said.

So he was dismissed to pay off the balance on his credit card and pay interest on the debt, he said, adding that in the meantime he is looking around the house for things he could quickly sell on eBay.

At Hare, he said: "Our policies and screening procedures are not being made less thorough, but it is likely that they may take longer, the more officers we become short."

Federal officials have shown the effects of partial decommissioning on travelers. Michael Bilello, a spokesman for T.S.A., has used Twitter to report how long it takes to get through security checkpoints. On Friday morning, he said the maximum waiting time for Newark Liberty International on Thursday was 36 minutes, but at Boston Logan International it was only 7 minutes.

David P. Pekoske, administrator of the TSA, said in a statement on Thursday: "I am affiliated with the field and fully understand the burden our employees and their families are experiencing. the workforce, travel staff have confidently traveled around the clock safely as high pressure volume indicates. "

No other major airports have announced plans to take such action that Miami International has planned. Mr. Chin said the airport would close Concourse G at. on Saturday to Monday and divert those flights that would normally go from there to another gathering. He described this shift as a security measure "only if the number of calls is increased."

A spokesman for the New York and New Jersey port authorities operating the three major airports serving New York City said those Airports had continued to work normally during the interruption.

A transport safety officer at a meal break in Terminal 2 at the Kennedy International Airport this week said his colleagues were still showing work and making lasting uncertainty. [19659005] "It's like you feel the silent excitement that will build later," said officer, a two-year veteran living in Queens and taking care of his parents. He said he could do without a paycheck for now, but a shutdown that lasted months or longer would be another matter.

"If it continues for a year, then the question is that you can survive?" He said. Finally, he suggested that he and his colleagues be able to choose between food and shelter – and probably would cut food first.

"Can I do the job without nutrition? Someone has to answer it," he said. "If 52,000 people have to work without food, can the job be done?"

He said health care was another concern because many of the agents are taking prescription drugs. "How long can we go further when it actually affects your basic needs?" He said.

For now the plan was to continue to show. "I'm not taking my vacation next week," he said. "I must come as I please, because I am under oath, so I will."

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