WINDSOR LOCKS, CT (WFSB) - The longest government shutdown in U.S. history continued on Monday as lawmakers met with workers to listen to its impact.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal held a news conference Monday to discuss the impact the shut down is having on Connecticut's largest airport.

Airports across the country, including Bradley, are seeing the impact as the partial shutdown reaches its 24th day.

Some airports were forced to close terminals due to absent employees.

TSA officers are responsible for screening people and their belongings.

Though they are vital to the operations and safety at Bradley, they aren't seeing a dime due to the shutdown.

"We’re a bargaining chip, it’s infuriating," said Adrian Pellot, a transportation security officer at Bradley.

He served in the Air Force and moved on to serve and protect those at Bradley, and now he's one of about 150 officers working without pay.

"Reopen the government, get us our money, worry about the issue of a wall, whatever the case may be, afterwards," Pellot said.

Some officers are going to food banks and their union representatives, who reached out to the state unemployment office.

"No response back via email, no response to phone calls. Leaving us out to dry," said Paul Feragne, local president at 237 AFGE, representing BUE 3 state 5 airports.

Bills are adding up, and missing pay is hurting their bottom line.

"These employees must make their bills because if their bills go delinquent then their security clearance is in jeopardy," said Valyria Lewis, national representative for AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees).

With no end in sight, some workers said they are considering a change in career.

"I still want my country safe. I still want my people safe. On the other end of that I still have to face the very real reality that I may have to stop doing that if this goes too long and I don't want to do that," Pellot said.

While travelers at Bradley can see the work being done without pay at security, but behind the scenes, 40 air traffic controllers are also working without pay.

"Our primary concern is getting the government reopened. Getting these employees back to work and our paycheck for the work that we’ve already done," said Bryan Krampovitis, of the National Air Traffic Controller Association.

He and others representing federal workers at Bradley said public safety is a concern.

Right now about 3,000 aviation specialists are furloughed.

"I know that a lot of the safety inspectors are not on the job. We have people who aren’t able to do the safety checks that we would normally do. We have people who are not able to do the ride alongs with airlines," said Christopher Scofield, an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist.

Federal workers who just missed their first paycheck are seeking out second and third jobs to make ends meet.

“We all have mortgages, we all have rent we all have bills that have to be paid. We all have appliances that are broken. My washer actually just broke last week and I don’t know when I’m going to replace it,” Scofield said.

Across the country, 14,000 air traffic controllers are still working without pay, and training future workers at the academy is at a standstill.

“All that is shut down and that stoppage of training is going to ripple out for the next year and a half to two years,” Krampovitis said.

Sen. Chris Murphy held a similar news conference at Tweed Airport in New Haven last week.

Out of the 800,000 federal workers impacted, roughly 420,000 are deemed essential. That means they must work.

An additional 380,000 are staying home without pay. Furloughed workers received back pay during previous shutdowns, but there's no guarantee that will be the case this time.

Miami International Airport said it had to close a terminal over the weekend because TSA officers have been calling in sick at twice the normal rate.

Friday, all of the workers received their penniless paystubs.

The holdup continues to be funding for President Donald Trump's border wall.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Digital Content Producer

(3) comments

goodlookin

Sen. Richard Blumenthal needs to be in his military fatigues 24/7, if u pretend to be a soldier u should dress like one.

Truthseeker

If Blumenthal and Murphy really cared about these people, they'd be pushing to get the wall funded and the government back in action. Instead they do nothing. How'd you get voted into office? Oh, that's right, the state of CT sponsored the voter fraud that allows you two to stay in office. Poll the people of CT and you will hear you are not wanted in your positions. I dare you to have an honest election in CT.

momsacorn

But at least they know that our beloved and compassionate president "can relate."

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