Transportation Security Administration workers who manned checkpoints on Dec. 22 will be paid, despite the federal shutdown that began the previous day, and they also will receive a $500 bonus for working during the busy Christmas season.
The payment for work that Saturday and the bonus money are an effort by TSA Administrator David P. Pekoske to soften the blow to his workers and encourage them to remain on the job after they missed their first paycheck on Friday.
The bonus and an estimated $150 to $200 in Saturday pay should be received by TSA workers early next week.
The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents unionized TSA workers, warned for more than a week that its members would be unable to get to their jobs if they didn’t get paid.
The TSA reported that 5.6 percent of its 51,000 workers did not show up on Friday, compared to a 3.3 percent who had unscheduled absences on Jan. 13, 2018.
The TSA said it screened 1.96 million passengers nationwide on Friday, with virtually all of them clearing checkpoints within the agency’s 30-minute standard and 95 percent of them waiting less than 15 minutes.
“Most importantly, security standards remain uncompromised at our nation’s airports,” TSA spokesman Jim Gregory said in an email. “We thank the public for their continued support and acts of kindness.”
With stormy weather expected to descend on East Coast states this weekend, the TSA and the Federal Aviation Administration advised travelers to check with their airlines for potential delays.
The storm, threatening heavy snow and freezing rain as it moves from the Tennessee Valley, is expected to hit portions of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic states.
When bad weather arrives, the aviation system topples like a row of dominoes. Hub airports like Chicago and the trio in New York cause flight delays in far-flung cities where the weather is clear and warm.
The FAA’s air traffic controllers, who make substantially more money than TSA workers, have promised to remain on the job despite the lack of pay, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said Friday.
“NATCA would not condone or endorse any type of activity like that. We have taken an oath and we provide service to the American public,” said Trish Gilbert, NATCA’s executive vice president. “We know we’re important to the United States economy, and we are going to work. We’re just not getting paid. So, even if this drags on, people will continue to come to work.”
NATCA sued President Trump and other top federal officials on Friday, saying they are depriving controllers of their “hard-earned compensation without the requisite due process.”
The legal challenge, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks a temporary restraining order against the federal government for allegedly violating controllers’ constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment.