For many, the recent protracted government shutdown is but a speck in the rearview mirror of life. Lasting from December 22, 2018, until January 25 of this year, it was the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, spanning a record 35 days. The shutdown occurred after President Donald Trump and Congress could not come to an agreement on funding for Trump’s proposed border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
As a result of the shutdown, over 800,000 government employees were furloughed, with some having to continue to work without receiving regular pay. While most employees received back pay after the shutdown concluded, some Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) workers are still waiting for wages that are owed to them.
As reported by CNN, the delay stems from the uncommon decision made during the shutdown, one wherein a partial paycheck was given to TSA employees in order to keep them working. At the time, TSA administrator David Pekoske announced the compensation via Twitter, amid growing concerns that airports across the country would not be able to provide the requisite standard of security — partly due to TSA employees calling out during the shutdown.
Workers who showed up for duty on December 22 received a full day’s pay, along with a $500 bonus. Despite the good intentions, it seems this decision to dole out money during the shutdown is responsible for the current delay in back pay.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) March 1, 2019
Despite ending over a month ago, some TSA employees are still feeling the after-effects of the shutdown, despite President Trump’s insistence that sorting out back pay would take priority.
The TSA released a statement, which pegs the number of employees who are still awaiting payment at around 1,000.
“Of TSA’s 60,000 employees, approximately 1,000 throughout the country require some sort of pay correction,” the statement read. The agency also assured that it is continuing to sort out these issues, which are mostly centered around a specific pay period. One unnamed TSA official — who spoke on the condition of anonymity, as they are not allowed to speak to the press — puts the blame squarely on Pekoske’s decision to pay workers during the shutdown.
“The problems are with pay period 26,” the unnamed source said, referring to the pay period in late December of 2018, where workers were given one day’s pay and the aforementioned bonus. “It appears as though their effort to partially pay people screwed things up and they are still getting their act together.”
The TSA has not provided an expected date for when the remainder of back pay would be sent out to the affected workers.