According to the Associated Press, roughly 10,000 air traffic controllers who work for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have been deemed essential and are expected to work without pay during the government shutdown.
And according to on official with the air traffic controllers union, many of them are already having financial problems. If the shutdown continues much longer, the official told The Hill, they will have to find other jobs. Eventually, he added, “there won’t be any controllers left.”
Eddie Delisle, a regional Vice President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) made the comments in an interview on Tuesday morning, saying:
“If this thing were to drag on for two months, three months, maybe even six; what would the effects be for the American public? There won’t be controllers left. I, for one, could not sustain six months, a year without a paycheck — I don’t know too many people that could, so you’re looking at an air controller here that would resign.”
Delisle said that the continuing partial government shutdown will most likely cause many newer employees, especially those with student debt or living in high cost areas, to look for other work sooner than later.
Delisle told The Hill:
“I imagine a lot of our newer hired air traffic controllers that might be in a position where they’re saddled with student loans or maybe they moved to a high cost of living area — they’re not going to be able to stay employed with the federal government if they’re not receiving any income.”
The union official also said that there are approximately 2,000 air traffic controllers who are eligible for retirement right now. He predicted that many of these older workers “might walk out the door,” saying that there is really no reason for them to stay on the job if they are not getting paychecks.
Last week NATCA filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration because their pay has been stopped as a result of the shutdown. The union lawsuit claims that the U.S. government has “unlawfully deprived” thousands of its members of pay “without due process.”
NATCA boasts a membership of over 19,000 Federal Aviation Administration employees all over the country. Of those members, there are about 14,000 air traffic controllers who are responsible for all U.S. airplane travel.
“We just need the shutdown to end and it needs to end today,” Delisle said correctly.
These comments from the NATCA point out that Donald Trump really doesn’t know what he is doing. He is causing financial harm to millions of Americans for no good reason. He is doing it only so he doesn’t look foolish to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.
It’s time for Americans to realize that Donald Trump doesn’t care about them, and it is time for him to be thrown out of office.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.