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Union Chief Says TSA Workers At N.H. Airports Are Struggling Without Paychecks

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Sarah Gibson for NHPR
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As the government shutdown continues, most TSA workers in New Hampshire are still going to work at the state's airports, but this week, they’re about to miss their second paycheck.

 

Valyria Lewis of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents the 164 TSA workers in New Hampshire, said appreciation from passengers and politicians isn't enough. 

 

“[Workers] can’t pay the bills with thank you's," she said. "When you got to look at your kids and figure out whether they get lunch money or whether you got to save that for dinner this evening, that’s a hard pill to swallow.”

 

Lewis says the delay in pay is especially tough for TSA workers, who have to pay their bills and mantain good financial standing in order to keep their national security clearance needed for their jobs.

 

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Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR
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TSA workers and AFGE union representatives meet with U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan to discuss the impact of the shutdown.

 

Nationally, the number of TSA workers calling in sick has been reported at a higher the normal rate, and some fear a permanent loss of personnel.

 

But Lewis said passengers at the Manchester-Boston Regional airport won't see the toil on TSA workers yet.

 

"These [workers] will show up," she promised. "They’re prohibited from striking under the Taft Hartley Act, so they’re going to come to work and do their job effectively."

 

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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