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BWI Airport workers rally to end the shutdown in solidarity with TSA Workers

Posted at 6:37 AM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 17:18:26-05

LINTHICUM, Md. — On day 26 of the government shutdown, subcontracted airport workers at BWI held a rally Wednesday to call for an end to the shutdown and show support to the TSA agents.

The contracted workers are employed by Menzies and work as cleaners, dispatchers, mechanics, aircraft and baggage ramp maintenance workers, airplane fuelers and customs workers. Joining them in the fight to end the shutdown is Baltimore Councilwoman Shannon Sneed.

In a news release, the vice president of the worker's union says the shutdown is also having a negative impact on the employees they represent.

They want congress and the president to work together to reopen the government. And get things back to normal.

Several airports around the country like Atlanta and Miami have been struggling with lengthy wait times at security because TSA agents are calling out sick more than normal.

A spokesperson for the TSA says while they are seeing more agents call out sick now, compared to this time last year.

"Yesterday’s complete figures show that TSA experienced a national rate of 6.1 percent of unscheduled absences compared to a 3.7 percent rate one year ago on the same day, Tuesday, January 16, 2018; many employees are reporting that they are not able to report to work due to financial limitations. Due to security concerns, specific airport call-out information is generally not available to the public. Aviation security remains an essential priority, and TSA does not want to create any perception that an adversary could use specific information to determine possible vulnerabilities. TSA, in coordination with airport authorities and airlines, continue to work to optimize resources, manage consolidation efforts, and ensure screening lanes are properly staffed. To maintain effective security standards, airports may exercise contingency plans due to call-outs and anticipated high-volume. Travelers should allow enough time to get through the airport and board their flight. For questions about terminal closings, travelers should seek current airline and airport information before arriving at the airport. While national average wait times are within normal TSA times of 30 minutes for standard lanes and 10 minutes for TSA Pre✓®, some airports experienced longer than usual wait times."

TSA agents are working to ensure every passenger can get through security in a reasonable amount of time.