TSA union says workers threatening to quit over shutdown

A union president for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers on Wednesday said some TSA agents have quit their jobs amid the partial government shutdown while many others "are considering quitting."

Hydrick Thomas, the TSA council president for the American Federation of Government Employees, added in a statement that the reduction in workers would "create a massive security risk for American travelers."

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"Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown,” Thomas said.

“The loss of officers, while we’re already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don’t have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires," he added.

The American Federation of Government Employees did not immediately return a request from The Hill seeking specific statistics on the workers who have quit or have threatened to quit. 

Thomas's comments come as the partial government shutdown is currently in its 19th day. The shutdown was prompted because President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump claims media 'smeared' students involved in encounter with Native American man Al Sharpton criticizes Trump’s ‘secret’ visit to MLK monument Gillibrand cites spirituality in 2020 fight against Trump’s ‘dark’ values MORE refused to sign a bill to fund the government that didn't include at least $5 billion for a wall along the southern border.

Trump is meeting Wednesday with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDACA recipient claims Trump is holding ‘immigrant youth hostage’ amid quest for wall Fox’s Wallace to Pence: Is government shutdown all about ‘leverage?' Former House Republican: Trump will lose the presidency if he backs away from border security MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who have vowed not to approve any funding for a wall.

Because of the shutdown, funding has lapsed for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA. Employees deemed essential, including hundreds of thousands of airport workers, are working without pay. Since last week, there have been reports of mass callouts among TSA agents and, as a result, longer lines inside airports. 

Thomas in his statement Tuesday said the federal government is "failing."

“The federal government should be a model employer for this country, but right now they’re failing,” Thomas said. “I just hope our elected leaders stop using federal workers and the valuable services we provide as pawns in their political games. Our work is too important and the risks are too great, and any fallout resulting from it would leave our elected officials entirely to blame.”