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TSA employees working unpaid during government shutdown quit jobs

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Employees of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have been working unpaid since the US federal government shutdown began on December 22.

And now, according to their union boss, many TSA workers are quitting their jobs — or at least thinking about it.

“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck,” TSA union president Hydrick Thomas said in a post on the organization’s website. “Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown.”

“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,” Thomas continued.

It’s unclear how many TSA workers have quit. Neither the union nor TSA officials were immediately available for comment.

However, TSA spokesperson Michael Bilello told Politico that approximately 500 new officers were hired on Sunday and “300 more expected to start next pay period.”

Read more: TSA airport screeners have been working without pay during the shutdown and now many don’t have money to get to work.

This news follows reports last week that many of the agency’s employees have been calling out en masse during the shutdown, something Thomas attributes to the lack of finances to get to work.

“TSA employees aren’t calling out intentionally,” union president Hydrick Thomas told Business Insider on Friday. “They are calling out because they don’t have the funds to make it work.”

“TSA workers aren’t highly paid very much, they live paycheck to paycheck and they depend on that paycheck at the end of the month,” he added.

Read more: Delta, United, and JetBlue pilots are warning that flying will become more dangerous as the government shutdown continues.

The mean annual wage for TSA employees was about $40,960, or $19.69 per hour, as of May 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On Friday, a TSA spokesperson told Business Insider that the agency’s screeners have not yet missed a paycheck. The spokesperson went on to say that should the shutdown end by the middle of this week, their next paycheck on January 11 will also be processed on time.

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