TSA Says the Number of Agents Skipping Work Has Spiked Due to the Shutdown

A spokesperson cited “financial reasons.”

Transportation Security Administration agents help passengers through a security checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark. New figures released Sunday reveal a record number of agents are not showing up to work.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

The Transportation Security Administration has reported that the number of airport security agents not showing up to work reached an all-time high over the holiday weekend, according to the Washington Post, a side-effect of the government shutdown that the Department of Homeland Security previously stated was not a concern.

TSA agents are among the estimated 800,000 federal workers who are furloughed or working without pay during a government shutdown that is reaching its 30th day. The Washington Post reported that the number of unscheduled absences hit 8 percent nationally this weekend, up from a 3 percent a year ago.

“There is an increasing percentage of the TSA workforce that is calling out predominantly for financial reason,” TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said. “This is isolated now to a number of our largest hub airports.”

The spike has caused long lines at the nation’s busiest airports, but Bilello says the absences have not compromised the security screening process.

Earlier this month, a DHS spokesperson denied there were any issues with agents showing up at work. Tyler Q. Houlton tweeted that security operations “have not been impacted by a non-existent sick out” after CNN reported hundreds of TSA employees required to work without paychecks during the shutdown were calling in sick at four major airports.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate