'Exponentially Worse by the Day': Boston Airport Workers Share Safety Concerns Amid Government Shutdown - NECN
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'Exponentially Worse by the Day': Boston Airport Workers Share Safety Concerns Amid Government Shutdown

'What we are seeing now is a system that is less safe than it was a month ago'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Safety Concerns at Airports During Government Shutdown

    As the partial government shutdown continues, there are increasing concerns about safety at airports. NBC10 Boston's political reporter Alison King explains:

    (Published Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019)

    There has been increasing concern about safety at the nation's airports as the partial federal government shutdown continues. 

    The concern intensified following a joint statement issued by the heads of several aviation unions worried about the level of airport security.

    TSA workers at Boston Logan Airport are among those feeling concerned.

    "If you put this kind of pressure on your front line security operation, it can’t hold out forever," said Mike Gayzagian, a TSA worker at Boston Logan.

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    Gayzagian says the constant talk of the shutdown, combined with the growing inability among his unpaid co-workers to pay landlords, banks and creditors, is starting to take its toll.

    "We screen millions of people every day and we have to be 100-percent all the time," he said. "And so any kind of distraction outside distraction that is being brought to work is a detriment."

    Gayzagian, who is acting president of the TSA Union, echoes the concerns of many aviation unions that issued a joint statement saying in part, "We cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break.”

    "You cannot put safety - aviation safety - up against border security. It’s not fair," he said. "How many millions of people fly every day, OK? And it’s our job to keep them safe."

    Air traffic controller Mick Devine echoes the safety concerns.

    "What we are seeing now is a system that is less safe than it was a month ago," he said. "It’s getting exponentially worse by the day."

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    Devine says layers of security have been stripped away thanks to the furloughing of 3,000 support specialists.

    "If you were to consider an air traffic controller as a surgeon, you’ve asked us to perform a bunch of surgeries but not given us any nurses or technicians in the operating room," he said.

    Airport workers say aviation safety should not be used as a political football, adding that the current situation is unprecedented and unconscionable.

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