As the Partial Government Shutdown of 2018-2019 extends past the first missed payday, there is lots of press attention being paid to TSA airport screeners calling in sick to protest (TSA Sickouts Worsen Daily), and some speculation that the screeners might quit en masse.
To which I say, what's new about that? Not much. It's the same old situation as before anyone missed a paycheck:
The Transportation Security Administration is a revolving door for more than 8,000 screeners at 10 of the busiest airports in the U.S., data obtained by Bloomberg Law suggest.
The TSA hired nearly as many agents at some sites as left their jobs between 2012 to 2016, according to information provided by the agency in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The TSA doesn’t separate the data by why an employee left, so the numbers include those who quit, were fired, or retired.
-- snip --
The TSA employs a total of about 11,700 screeners at the 10 airports. The turnover rate across those sites ranged from 30 percent to more than 80 percent over the five years analyzed. Turnover among federal employees overall has hovered around 15 percent during the past three years, Hausknecht said.
Being an airport screener is just a terrible job, and high turnover is inevitable.
Will the churn of TSA personnel get even greater now that they have missed a paycheck - or, more accurately, have had their pay delayed until the shutdown is over? Maybe. And if so, will that make airport screening even slower and more erratic than it is already? Yes, probably. And finally, is there anything that can be done to resolve the Partial Government Shutdown of 2018-2019 anytime soon? No, not really.
One can only feel sympathy for those unpaid screeners. But I wonder if any of that sympathy will continue after the shutdown is over.