DENVER — As the longest federal shutdown in U.S. history continues, some airports have had to adjust security plans due to a shortage of TSA agents. Miami International Airport had to close a terminal because of the lack of agents.
About 51,000 TSA agents are among the 800,000 government employees nationwide currently working without pay or on furlough.
Denver International Airport spokesperson Emily Williams says at this point, DIA is continuing normal operations. Williams says she does not have access to TSA staffing numbers, so it’s unclear if staffing has been impacted by the shutdown.
Saturday morning, a small group gathered near the south security checkpoint to thank the TSA agents for continuing to show up for work.
“What would happen if they decided they were done?” says Kristin Mallory. “This whole airport would stop.”
The group held signs calling for an end to the government shutdown.
“To have them working like this, to have the stress of what they have to do every single day and not being paid for it, and have to worry where their next meals are coming from, I can only imagine how they’re feeling,” says Kellie Nau. “It’s got to be heart-wrenching.”
Nau says her husband is a federal employee who is currently on furlough.
“It’s hard. It hits home,” she says. “You can’t do the things you normally do. You’re getting a little more frugal with your money.”
She says it’s difficult to see essential employees still working without a paycheck.
“We’re just telling them, ‘thank you very much.’ We appreciate what they’re doing,” said Nau.
After roughly one hour, the group was asked to move outside, where they continued their rally through a glass wall.
“Every airport that you go in that has a TSA employee, that’s our wall against any harm coming to our country,” she says. “Sometimes, a thank you and a smile goes a long way.”