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Karen Burke: DHS ShutdownPrint

AFGE NEVADAI don’t know if you have seen the piece “TSA Workers Deserve More than an IOU” from our Acting Administrator Mel Carraway. I have copied the article below as a subset of my letter, because I believe it represents how the leadership and many others feel regarding the upcoming potential DHS shutdown.

“If by the end of the week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not receive funding, the Department shuts down. A shutdown for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) means that most of our employees would still continue to come to work without receiving a paycheck for that work until the shutdown ends.

As a counterterrorism organization, our dedicated and professional workforce will – in the event of a shutdown - continue to secure our nation’s transportation systems, without pay, just as they did during the government shutdown of 2013. Over ninety percent of our workforce – that’s about 50,000 employees – would continue to report to duty.

Yes, critical operations would continue, but the support for those operations would cease. Approximately 6 percent of the TSA workforce would be furloughed. Hiring would cease. Required training would cease. Travel associated with routine planned security inspections would cease. Deployment of security technology equipment would potentially be delayed.

Although TSA is most recognized and known for our work in nearly 450 airports throughout the United States, our national security mission includes mass transit and passenger rail, as well as pipeline and container traffic. These transportation systems play a vital role in driving the engine of our economy.

TSA officers rely on the development of new technologies, the sharing of reliable intelligence, and screening procedures that can be adapted to address the ever evolving threat. These vital functions depend on a secure budget.

As a civilian government workforce, the men and women of TSA have sworn an oath to protect the traveling public. As fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, partners, sisters and brothers – this responsibility is not without sacrifice.

The vast majority of TSA personnel – including frontline operational and support personnel – rely on biweekly paychecks to support themselves and their families. If DHS does not receive funding, these employees would not receive biweekly paychecks for their work during the shutdown until Congress acts. They deserve better than the proposition of coming to work every day on an IOU.

We hope that Congress will pass a clean budget for DHS. In the meantime, TSA remains dedicated to our mission to protect the nation’s transportation systems and ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.”

Melvin J. Carraway
Acting Administrator

It is my hope that the shutdown does not occur, and that we can go on with our responsibility to protect the traveling public with pride, purpose and pay. You all are real professionals and do an outstanding job, and I am proud to be part of your team. If a shutdown does occur, as Mel referenced, the entire screening workforce will be considered essential and will need to report to duty as scheduled.

We had our first call today to review how things will work if a shutdown occurs. As was the DHS policy two years ago, all leave and time off will be cancelled in the event of a shutdown. However, if there are emergency or individual situations that warrant an exception, we will provide you with an exception process to follow. We need to work as a team to get through this if it happens, and I want you to know that I and the local leadership team will be here on site to support you. As done before, we will coordinate outside resources to help support those who may need extra help given our no pay status. The union will be helping as well, so we will be coordinating our efforts to best meet your needs.

There will be a lot of information forthcoming if the shutdown occurs, and I plan to put out information as frequently as needed to keep you up to date. This may well be a down to the deadline decision, but let’s all think positively that the Congress will pass a budget!

Thank you for your commitment and professionalism.
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