TSA union says workers threatening to quit over shutdown

A union president for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers on Wednesday said some TSA agents have quit their jobs amid the partial government shutdown while many others "are considering quitting."

Hydrick Thomas, the TSA council president for the American Federation of Government Employees, added in a statement that the reduction in workers would "create a massive security risk for American travelers."

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"Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck. Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown,” Thomas said.

“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," he added.

The American Federation of Government Employees did not immediately return a request from The Hill seeking specific statistics on the workers who have quit or have threatened to quit. 

Thomas's comments come as the partial government shutdown is currently in its 19th day. The shutdown was prompted because President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ MORE refused to sign a bill to fund the government that didn't include at least $5 billion for a wall along the southern border.

Trump is meeting Wednesday with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' On The Money: Shutdown Day 25 | Dems reject White House invite for talks | Leaders nix recess with no deal | McConnell blocks second House Dem funding bill | IRS workers called back for tax-filing season | Senate bucks Trump on Russia sanctions Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who have vowed not to approve any funding for a wall.

Because of the shutdown, funding has lapsed for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA. Employees deemed essential, including hundreds of thousands of airport workers, are working without pay. Since last week, there have been reports of mass callouts among TSA agents and, as a result, longer lines inside airports. 

Thomas in his statement Tuesday said the federal government is "failing."

“The federal government should be a model employer for this country, but right now they’re failing,” Thomas said. “I just hope our elected leaders stop using federal workers and the valuable services we provide as pawns in their political games. Our work is too important and the risks are too great, and any fallout resulting from it would leave our elected officials entirely to blame.”