Local air traffic controllers working without pay during government shutdown
AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) —
Air traffic controllers are the men and women entrusted to keep their eyes on the sky, but these highly-skilled workers are being directly impacted by the partial government shutdown and have not seen a paycheck in weeks.
A local Amarillo union representative for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association said the employees are frustrated that they are caught in the middle of the shutdown battle.
"This is the first time out of any of the shutdowns that have ever happened, that we've actually been impacted with not getting paid. I think that is when it really settled in," said Brandon Ivey, the union representative.
The effects of the shutdown are being felt in Amarillo, and Ivey said he has seen his co-workers struggling.
"With the shift work, that's already a difficult process. Now without getting paid, they can't pay their babysitters and then it's a trickle-down effect to their babysitters because they were looking work and now they're not getting it," said Ivey.
Air traffic controllers in Amarillo are not just missing out on their paychecks. Ivey said working conditions have not been ideal either.
"Our sewage and water pipes in the building are old and in need of repair, so they've completely dug out our bathrooms and we have this giant port-a-potty in the back that we have to walk out in the snow and rain and extreme winds just to use the restroom," said Ivey.
The repairs are being done by contracted government employees that are considered non-essential.
"All of our non-essential or non-exempted employees were furloughed and told not to come to work," said Ivey.
Despite the working conditions, Ivey said people need him to show up to work everyday, but he does not know how long he can go without getting a paycheck.
"A good majority of our traffic comes from the US Military, mostly the Air Force," said Ivey. "It's our job to help those pilots how to do practice approaches and touch and go's. They all fly out here to do that type of flying."
If you want to help, Ivey suggests you write to your local congressmen and women expressing your concern about the government shutdown.