Salt Lake City Airport Working To Ease Shutdown Burdens On Federal Workers

Jan 15, 2019, 9:49 PM
Travelers go through the TSA checkpoint in the Salt Lake City airport....
FILE: Travelers go through the TSA checkpoint in the Salt Lake City airport.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s business as usual at the Salt Lake International Airport, except the federal workers there to help keep the skies safe are working for free with hopes that when the partial U.S. federal government shutdown ends, they will get paid. Salt Lake hasn’t seen any of the increases in sick calls that have happened at other airports. Still, they’re working to be proactive to keep spirits up.

“You know, you make it through one paycheck period not getting paid, but when you’re looking at two, maybe three, I think it’s really difficult,” says Salt Lake International Airport Spokesperson Nancy Volmer.

There are several hundred federal employees between the TSA, FAA and Customs and Border Patrol Agents working at the airport. The airport has begun hosting free meals for the workers. Airlines and Salt Lake City are also offering to host future meals.

A TSA worker in Salt Lake wrote in an Op-Ed in the Washington Post that she feels the extra thanks but she also states, “We don’t have much choice. We’re political pawns being held hostage by a tyrant.”

The Salt Lake Airport is in constant communication with the TSA discussing any issues that pop up locally. Nationwide, 6.8% of TSA workers called out sick on Monday, that’s up from 2.5% on the same day last year. The increase calls haven’t been seen in Salt Lake. Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport, for example, saw major problems on Monday and shut down one terminal. Travelers coming from Houston to Salt Lake on Tuesday said problems there are now improved.

“We got warnings from the airlines that said get to the airport really early, so we did and got to the airport, and I fly a lot, and it’s the fastest I’ve gotten through security so far,” said Steve Markovich, who landed in Salt Lake around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Salt Lake Airport is asking that people arrive two hours before their flight for domestic flights and three hours for international flight to give them plenty of time for security.

“What we’re asking is for the passengers to be proactive, and if they start seeing longer lines, we ask for their patience,” Volmer said.

Passengers and the airport are also making sure to thank the agents more, hoping they know that the job they’re doing is appreciated.

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Salt Lake City Airport Working To Ease Shutdown Burdens On Federal Workers