TSA Officers At RDU Brace For Another Empty Paycheck

Jan 23, 2019

A small group of federal employees in North Carolina held another demonstration on Wednesday, demanding an end to the partial government shutdown.

On a cloudy, windy Day 33 of the shutdown, ten EPA and TSA workers rallied outside Raleigh-Durham International Airport's Terminal 2, where some have been working without paychecks. 

"What do we want? End the shutdown! When do we want it? Now!" they chanted.

"I think it's embarrassing that the government of the United States of America has employees coming to work, now entering a fifth week, and not getting paid," said Mac Johnson, a TSA officer and local union president. Johnson lives in Fayetteville and commutes to RDU.

Johnson and his fellow workers are caught in the ongoing impasse between President Trump and Democrats in Congress over $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the southern border. He said he wants the U.S. Senate to vote on a deal to end it.

There are about 8,000 federal employees in North Carolina who are furloughed or working without pay. The EPA has a facility in Research Triangle Park, where Ken Krebs works as an air quality researcher. He has not been to work for more than a month.

 "We were set for a sampling trip this week, but that had to be scotched because of the shutdown," Krebs said. "And it took several weeks, working with industry and the states to set it up. We're going to have to start all over again once we get back to work."

Others are essential employees, and have been working, but with no pay.

TSA officer Tangela Campbell held up a small sign at the protest that read "I've worked for the past 33 days. Pay me now!" Campbell is a single mother from Cary.

"Reopen the government, and still talk, negotiate, do whatever you have to do, but open the government so we, the citizens can live. It's becoming hard," she said.

"It's just a depressing situation, you know? My son had to get a job. He's a teenager and he took it upon himself to go get another job so he could help out at home."

Campbell says her landlord has given her some more time to pay the rent, but her water, power and Internet providers will not.

She and her fellow workers will miss their second straight paycheck tomorrow if the shutdown continues.