TSA agent and new dad Brian Turner has worked without pay since the shutdown.
“A missed paycheck means you go into a hole,” he said. “I mean, we are a paycheck to paycheck family we don’t have that cushion that everyone wants to have.”
Turner has a wife and a five-month-old son and has worked for TSA for over six years. TSA employees are required to work without pay during a shutdown.
“It’s understood from the very beginning when you start with TSA, they make it very clear that you are essential personnel, whether a hurricane, tornado, you know, you have to be there, you’re required to be there for the safety of the country,” he explained.
But hundreds of TSA agents have stayed home from work “sick” causing a staffing shortage weeks into the shutdown.
“There is no reason to use us as leverage to accomplish goals in Washington,” Turner said. “We all have families, we all have livelihoods, we need the government to get back open, we need to get America back in business, and have the talks that we need to have.”
78% of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck and many will suffer as a result of the shutdown.