Air traffic controllers union sues Trump administration over government shutdown

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USA airport security workers and air traffic controllers working without pay have been warning that security and safety could be compromised if the government shutdown continues, but the Trump administration said on Wednesday that staffing is adequate and travelers have not faced unusual delays.

"The government always pays its bills", he said, "and they will furlough after this government-shutdown drama is over".

In addition, around 800,000 federal employees have been on furlough or are being forced to continue working without pay, costing the U.S. economy an estimated several billion dollars to date.

"We will work to ensure we do everything we can for our customers and we do not expect any operational impact", Frank Benenati, a United spokesperson, told Bloomberg. Even before the shutdown, controllers have needed to work longer and harder to make up for the staffing shortfall. As TSA screeners are considered "essential", they have been working without pay since the shutdown started on December 22.

Miami International Airport will close an airport terminal early over the next few days, officials said Friday, with more unpaid security officers absent from work as the partial government shutdown has dragged on.

Bill Kisseadoo, president of the Miami union for federal air-traffic controllers, said the missed payday has escalated the pressure on the roughly 100 workers at MIA's control tower who are supposed to focus exclusively on helping planes take off and land safely.

On Friday over 800,000 federal workers experienced their first day without pay as a result of the government shutdown.

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In Kansas, a collision of semitrailers caused the death of a 41-year-old driver from Mexico, The Associated Press reports. More than 450 flights across the USA had been canceled on Sunday morning, according to Flight Aware.

Carl said ongoing investigations have been put on hold by the shutdown. TSA agents are on the lower end of the federal pay scale, earning between $36,000 and $43,000 annually.

This has been indirectly caused by the US Government shutdown.

President Donald Trump wants $5.7 billion to build a wall on the border with Mexico, and he has threatened to keep the government shut down until he gets it. Democrats say that the wall would be a poor use of federal money, and talks to reopen the government this week have failed.

So far, there is no evidence of increased absenteeism in the nation's airport towers and radar rooms, NATCA's Gilbert said.

Mr Bilello said at Miami Airport on Thursday passengers "waited a maximum of 23 minutes yesterday" to clear security. "We have rules as to how many hours you can work in a day, how many hours have to be between shifts".

"In fact, plaintiffs' job is so demanding and requires such rare skills that the FAA struggles to maintain a full complement of certified Air Traffic Controllers". The agency is focusing on ensuring its resources are devoted to ensure that the system remains safe, it said in a statement.

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