This weekend, as the government's closure is set to become the longest in American history, the Nashville Transportation Security Administration will hold a recruiting event to allow agents to work at the international airport from Nashville.
With some 50,000 TSA security guards in the country considered essential employees, they must work, whether they are paid or not. Fractions of the federal government came to an end on December 22 in the face of a budget impasse and a border wall.
Now, in Nashville, they will be working – without pay – on Saturday, hoping to recruit more people to work with them at the airport security and control agency.
Dozens of vacancies are available when hiring "fast track" at the Sheraton Music City Hotel. The starting salary for the positions, according to the TSA, is $ 15.63 hourly. Or at least it will be once the credits are taken back.
"This is a unique opportunity to learn to be on the front lines of aviation safety," said Wesley Henderson, deputy director of TSA security for the airport. of Nashville in a statement.
"This event is helping to accelerate the process of hiring qualified people to join our team in Nashville before the busy spring and summer travel seasons."
The TSA told USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee that the positions they were looking for were identified before the shutdown.
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Officers leaving office
According to Hydrick Thomas, who heads the TSA's board on the US federation of government employees, leaders have been forced to resign, uncertain about when they will be paid.
"Every day, my members call me about their extreme financial hardship and the need for a paycheck," said the manager in a statement posted on the union's website. "Some of them have already stopped and many are considering leaving the federal staff because of this judgment."
It has been reported several times on Friday that other officers have resigned after their first paycheck missed since the stop. It is not clear if any officers have resigned at the Nashville Airport.
Thomas warned that the situation posed "a huge risk to the safety of US travelers because we do not have enough trainees in training or able to handle new employees".
"Our officers have received considerable training and have taken an oath to protect this country," he said. "They are highly specialized in passenger screening and do it better than any private contractor, but we risk losing them by offering no compensation for long hours of work and dangerous work."
The TSA challenged the union's contention that waiting times and the number of workers calling for patients had increased dramatically.
Across the country, the TSA controlled 1.74 million passengers on Wednesday with 99.9% of passengers waiting less than 30 minutes, according to the agency. In the pre-check corridors of the TSA, passengers waited on average less than five minutes.
The agency said they had experienced a rate of "unplanned absences" of 5% on Wednesday, up from 3.6% a year ago.
"Safety standards are not compromised at airports in our country," TSA said in a statement. "While the current funding continues to be lacking, we want to echo the sentiments of the industry, the traveling public and the TSA leadership, who are proud and grateful for the more than 51,000 officers in the country who remain focused on their mission.
"We are humiliated by the acts of kindness and support from industry and the public, who clearly recognize and admire the efforts of our agents.The TSA will continue to carry out the critical work necessary for the security of the security systems. We are not under our supervision. "