TSA Gov Shutdown Impact

(KPTV image)

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The longest government shutdown in U.S. history is now in its 27th day, and TSA workers are among the 800,000 federal workers who are on the job without pay.

At Portland International Airport, there are about 300 people who work for TSA. They continue working, but last Friday they missed their first paycheck.

Next Friday, they could miss a second paycheck.

If the shutdown is not settled by next Tuesday at midnight, workers will have gone an entire month without a paycheck.

"We have two months worth of rent. We can afford all the insurance, electricity bills, and all the bills that come with that," said Anthony Jones, TSA screener at PDX.

Jones says his wife works, but it's still nerve-wracking to lose half of a monthly income.

People have reached out to help. They have offered food at food pantries and airport restaurants, but TSA workers can't accept much help, even if offered things like gift cards.

"It's a bribe, it's for something we're not allowed to take," said Jones.

The two TSA screeners that FOX 12 talked to on Thursday say they both have some savings, but there is a limit.

"I don't think I could go much longer than a few months before I start looking for something else. The bills still got to be paid," said Jake Whitten. "Kind of disappointing when you show up every day and you hope to get an honest paycheck for honest work."

Some TSA employees have applied for food stamps, and others are doing things like carpooling to save money on gas.

Whitten said he might look for temporary work if things get tighter.

The last thing he wants to do though is leave his job for another. He worries some of his coworkers will have to do that.

"It's definitely a concern if this goes into next month and people's rent comes up again," said Whitten. "It would be nice to know just even when it's going to end at this point, just to have some idea how long we have to hold on before get a paycheck again."

Meantime, federal employees at PDX will being holding a rally Friday to end the government shutdown.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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