Local Airport Employees Calling For End To The Government Shutdown

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KFSM) — TSA workers at two local airports are officially calling for an end to the government shutdown.

The workers at XNA and the Fort Smith Regional Airport are also union members and they say not receiving paychecks is putting a big burden on their families.

The local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) released a statement saying they are now facing the reality of those missed paychecks.

Some workers are wondering how they will pay their rent next month.

"I'm just gonna stick it out ya know, I mean I've been here for 11 years so it's kind of a career path for me but it's a large concern of how we're gonna make it," said Cherry Hotten, AFGE Local 917 President.

The AFGE is the largest federal employee union and represents more than 700,000 workers in the federal government.

"Regardless we try and push aside our personal problems, leave them at the door and do our job when we are on the floor," said Hotten.

The local AFGE chapter's statement says in part that this is a safety issue for their members and for people who are traveling.

So far, there have been no concerns of XNA or Fort Smith being short staffed with TSA agents.

"We actually have not had an issue with call offs throughout the whole state of Arkansas. Everybody has been showing up doing our job and doing it the way we've always wanted to," said Hotten.

Airport Director Kelly Johnson says that XNA is thankful for their dedicated employees who are showing up to work despite not being paid.

"Everybody is concerned about these individuals even though they are working they aren't getting paid," said Johnson. "They still have to pay for their childcare, they have to put gas in their automobiles, they have mortgages to pay so we are extremely hopeful this doesn't go on too much longer."

Johnson says that they are trying to do anything they can to be supportive to the employees at the airport. Tomorrow they will be buying the TSA agents lunch.

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