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U.S. airport security staff sickouts rise over holiday weekend

January 20, 2019

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) experienced a national rate of 8 percent of unscheduled absences on Saturday, compared to 3 percent one year ago, the U.S. agency said Sunday.

One security checkpoint at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was closed on Saturday due to “excessive callouts,” the TSA said in a statement, advising passengers to arrive early for their flights.

On Friday and Thursday, unscheduled absence rate of TSA officers was 7 percent and 6.4 percent respectively.

“Many employees are reporting that they are not able to report to work due to financial limitations,” the agency said.

The TSA officers, who are among the 420,000 “essential” federal employees forced to work without pay after the partial government shutdown, missed their first paycheck on Jan. 11. The record-long shutdown has lasted for about a month.

The TSA said Friday that it expected “a high volume” of travelers this holiday weekend, when many workers would have Monday off in observation of Martin Luther King Day.

It estimated that between Friday and Monday, more than 8 million passengers will be screened at security checkpoints nationwide, an increase of 10.8 percent from the same period last year. Enditem

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