(SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION UNION PRESIDENT PAUL RINALDI SAYING: "End this shutdown today!" Air traffic controllers - took their frustrations to Capitol Hill Thursday, saying security and safety could be jeopardized... if the nearly three-week old government shutdown doesn't end soon…... The thousands of workers who staff control towers and security lines have been working with no pay since the start of the stalemate over President Trump's demand for a border wall… Union leader Paul Rinaldi says the shutdown is placing enormous strain on the entire system.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS ASSOCIATION UNION PRESIDENT PAUL RINALDI SAYING: "Every day the shutdown continues is has negative consequences on the national air space system and the employees.
Zero paychecks are hitting our bank accounts right now.... the As this continues to go on, the layers of safety are being reduced into our air space system for no reason whatsoever." The union says their workforce had already been running at a 30-year low…..the shutdown only ADDING to the strain.
The FAA could resort to increasing the intervals between takeoffs and landings to ensure safety.
The FAA has also had to suspend many safety operations, conducting fewer inspections and investigations, due to inadequate staffing.
And the shutdown is taking a human toll.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER, SAYING: "You cannot expect a workforce to come to work and do their job when they have to be concerned about the safety and security of their own families." The Transportation Security Administration, TSA, is also facing problems among its 51,000 workers….their union saying some have already quit… TSA officials acknowledge a small rise in workers taking unscheduled leave… but say passenger security and wait times have not been affected… This as President Trump flies to the U.S.-Mexico border to demand Congress pass a budget to pay for a wall he says is necessary to deal with a humanitarian and security quote "crisis."