Politics & Government

Nation’s largest union, Columbia chef team up to feed airport workers during shutdown

What happens when the government shuts down?

The world won't end if Washington can't find a way to pass a funding bill. That's the truth about a government "shutdown": the government doesn't shut down.
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The world won't end if Washington can't find a way to pass a funding bill. That's the truth about a government "shutdown": the government doesn't shut down.

A local chef and the largest union in the United States are partnering to give some relief to workers at Columbia’s airport who are going without pay during the government shutdown.

Saturday, the AFL-CIO together with Kristian Neimi, the chef and owner of Bourbon on Main Street in downtown Columbia, are providing a meal for TSA workers at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.

In a new release the AFL-CIO said they’re inviting people out “in supporting the hard-working men and women of the Federal Government.”

They’ll begin serving food at 10 a.m.

“Everyday that this pointless government shutdown drags on, hundreds of thousands of working people are denied a paycheck and millions lose the vital government services that we deserve,” the AFL-CIO said in a statement. “Our members are concerned with making ends meet. Many of our members that are being forced to work without pay are concerned with how to pay for gas to get to work. Many members are worried how they are going to pay their mortgage or rent.”

TSA, or the Transporation Security Administration, workers chiefly screen passengers and luggage at airports to ensure safety. TSA employees are working without pay during the government shutdown, according to a New York Times article, and many are calling out sick or finding other work, issues that are expected to worsen as the shutdown is prolonged.

In North Carolina, a food bank has been delivering food to TSA employees who work at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Officials with the Miami International Airport have already scheduled a temporary shutdown of one of their terminals due to a lack of TSA workers being available.

The president of the TSA Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, Hydrick Thomas was quoted in the New York Times saying this week that “extreme financial hardship” had driven some of his members to resign and many others to consider doing so.

TSA workers earn about $35,000 a year on average, according to union officials that spoke with the Times.

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.


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