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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Transportation Security Administration

TSA Workers Deserve More than an IOU

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
A photo of three Transportation Security Officers

If by the end of the week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not receive funding, the Department shuts down. A shutdown for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) means that most of our employees would still continue to come to work, without receiving a paycheck for that work until the shutdown ends.

As a counterterrorism organization, our dedicated and professional workforce will - in the event of a shutdown - continue to secure our nation’s transportation systems, without pay, just as they did during the government shutdown of 2013. Over ninety percent of our workforce – that’s about 50,000 employees – would continue to report to duty.

Yes, critical operations would continue, but the support for those operations would cease. Approximately 6 percent of the TSA workforce would be furloughed. Hiring would cease. Required training would cease. Travel associated with routine planned security inspections would cease. Deployment of security technology equipment would potentially be delayed.

Although TSA is most recognized and known for our work in nearly 450 airports throughout the United States, our national security mission includes mass transit and passenger rail, as well as pipeline and container traffic. These transportation systems play a vital role in driving the engine of our economy.

TSA officers rely on the development of new technologies, the sharing of reliable intelligence, and screening procedures that can be adapted to address the ever evolving threat. These vital functions depend on a secure budget.

As a civilian government workforce, the men and women of TSA have sworn an oath to protect the traveling public. As fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, partners, sisters and brothers – this responsibility is not without sacrifice.

The vast majority of TSA personnel – including frontline operational and support personnel– rely on biweekly paychecks to support themselves and their families. If DHS does not receive funding, these employees would not receive biweekly paychecks for their work during the shutdown until Congress acts. They deserve better than the proposition of coming to work every day on an IOU.

We hope that Congress will pass a clean budget for DHS. In the meantime, TSA remains dedicated to our mission to protect the nation's transportation systems and ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce.

Melvin J. Carraway
Acting Administrator

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If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.


Submitted by SSSS For Some Reason on

While I don't think it is right for your Parent Department to be used as a political negotiating tool like this, I do think this is a perfect example of why the TSA specifically isn't needed.

You say yourself that over ninety-percent of your workforce will continue to do their thing.... the other whatever percent that will be furloughed are the parts you obviously don't need. Eliminate those positions and spend the money on training your front line inspectors how to tell the difference between a danger to aviation and a plastic hammer.

Maybe there is even more silver lining available in this cloud.... maybe this is the opportunity we need to point out how the TSA SHOULD be operated. The TSA should work just like the FAA. You guys can write the standards, test the standards, but not actually provide the staff (who can't seem to follow the standards).

It would have a much better chance of making is safe in the skies and cost us a lot less than Eight Billion dollars a year.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What do checkpoint managers who lie to police to get an innocent passenger arrested, and the commit perjury in court, deserve?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I agree that TSA agents don't deserve IOUs.

They deserve pink-slips. And prosecution for violations of citizens' constitutional rights.

But we can't all get everything we want.

Submitted by Anonymous on

You say yourself that over ninety-percent of your workforce will continue to do their thing.... the other whatever percent that will be furloughed are the parts you obviously don't need.

those people being furloughed are payroll, training, Human Resources, IT, Logistics, and executive level management. Hardley position that are unneeded. Just not security critical.

Submitted by RB on

It's unseemly for government agencies to engage in political discussions. Of course we already know that acting TSA Director Carraway has issues with ethical behavior.

TSA deserves its very own Canio.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I don't understand what the American public wants here? Would you rather walk straight up to your gate without going through security or would a simple metal detector and an xray machine suffice? Would you want a private company providing security? I'm satisfied with tsa, though I can admit it needs well mannered and better educated screeners, I rather get on a plane knowing they checked everyone thoroughly than not.

Submitted by Anonymous on

RB Said "It's unseemly for government agencies to engage in political discussions"
I do not believe the the statement Mr. Carraway has made is engaging in a political discussion at all. I believe he is standing up for his employees,and it's the right thing to do. Many individuals and families cannot go for any amount of time without knowing when their next paycheck will be. They have heat bills, grocery needs, childcare bills, mortgages, that will NOT wait for payment. But they are dedicated enough to go to work everyday regardless.

Submitted by Susan Richart on

"It's unseemly for government agencies to engage in political discussions. Of course we already know that acting TSA Director Carraway has issues with ethical behavior."

Two thumbs up, RB! My thoughts exactly.

Submitted by Anonymous on

A simple walk-through metal detector managed by airport or airline employees is plenty enough security.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I would like sensible security proportionate to the actual risk of a terrorist attack on aviation. Instead TSA gives us the shoe carnival, which no other nation in the world replicates, and which has never found a single explosive device in a show; the liquids nonsense, despite the fact that any liquid volatile enough to harm an aircraft is too volatile to transport to the airport; naked body scanners which produce nothing but false positives; and the "behavior detection" nonsense which has been debunked time and time again by actual scientists. TSA would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous.

Submitted by RB on

Anonymous said...

RB Said "It's unseemly for government agencies to engage in political discussions"

I do not believe the the statement Mr. Carraway has made is engaging in a political discussion at all. I believe he is standing up for his employees,and it's the right thing to do. Many individuals and families cannot go for any amount of time without knowing when their next paycheck will be. They have heat bills, grocery needs, childcare bills, mortgages, that will NOT wait for payment. But they are dedicated enough to go to work everyday regardless.February 25, 2015 at 12:34 PM

There is no question that the posted article is nothing but political posturing and political speech which should be avoided. It is not the placce of an acting director to engage in such acts.

I realize that TSA employees have financial obligations but trying to tie their going to work with being dedicated has zip to do with that issue. Federal employees designated as essential will go to work because it is the law, or face being fired.

I invite all TSA employees to not report for work regardless of the budget process.

Submitted by Anonymous on

We know what is going to happen -- a few days or even weeks might go by, management will backfill, and then when all the smoke clears the government people will go back to work AND get paid for the days they didn't work.

Admit it -- you in the TSA are praying for the shutdown to get some extra free Paid Time Off.

Submitted by Anonymous on

First I want to thank all of the workers for remaining at their posts. I appreciate all you do for the traveling community. Beyond that, the blame should be placed on the president for pushing his personal agenda on immigration as a part of the DHS funding bill. He needs to grow up and present each issue separately.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I too have issues with TSA, however it would be nice to have a civil discussion without always piling on TSA employees.

There is little else for Congress to do about the president's unconstitutional overreach regarding illegal aliens, than to put the screws on the budget. This president's policies and king-like attitude and actions are intolerable.

Submitted by Woodgrain Millwork on

I am a road warrior and to be honest, I RARELY run into a TSA Agent that is not friendly and courteous. Maybe you folks that have a complaint should remember what your mother said "You'll get more bees with honey". Yes, I see several of you in the lines, complaining that its taking too long, etc. Maybe another lesson is to show up a little earlier.
I for one feel a little better with TSA screening. And for the SSSS - maybe you should read the posting. The ones layed off are VITAL, its just that no training, travel related activities, etc will be preformed.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I find it difficult to sympathize with a department that won't allow a 1 inch pen knife but will allow a 4 inch gall point pen or a six inch knitting needle on a plane. Security, yes. Stupidity, no. And as long as the TSA is part of DHS and the borders are secured by (or under Obama NOT secured by), then TSA has to bear the brunt of Obama's apparent desire to destroy our borders and let anyone and everyone in.

Submitted by J Gladstone on

I feel much better boarding an aircraft knowing all who board were properly screened by professionals. And i have no problem showing ID and being searched. Since 911, how many planes in the US have been hijacked?? Case closed.

Submitted by Anonymous on

A simple walk thru metal detector run by the airlines worked great on 9/11.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The TSA should not be advocating political policy.

The White House has decided to make this a political issue and run around congress.

The President (when he gets off the golf course) could resolve this by recinding his order and work with congress.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Funding is always a challenge when a country spends more than it makes. Some decisions to control this are hard choices. However, regarding TSA....Taxpayers are paying people to monitor airport exit lanes, not just pre-boarding screening. Reliable technology exits to eliminate this mundane task (exit lanes)AND improve security versus relying on a human who can be easily distracted. This is an example, where security can be improved and costs can be lowered to help get us to a balanced budget. This is the way we need to be thinking as a country.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I am so sick of the TSA people acting like power mad sicko's that I would rather just walk onto the plane and take my chances with the terrorist. There is something wrong inside the head of most of those people.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Completely inappropriate blogging for an Acting Administrator. We all signed up for this blog to be updated on TSA issues that affect us, the citizens that pay your bills. While a brief message stating how budgets may affect the TSA would be fine, complaining about your employer, to your employer , on your employer's blog while you are supposed to be working is unacceptable.

Melvin, why can't you put the energy and time you so graciously took out of your work day to complain on this blog into improving the TSA experience almost 100% of us resent at our airports?

You should be fired.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Tax Payers deserve the utmost respect with regards to how the money is spent. If that means holding funds up to fix something that is broke, so be it. If you don't like that your paycheck could be held up like that, find another job. The current administration (for which most for you voted X2) says they have created millions of jobs, so go get another one.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Most of the comments seem to echo my feelings about 'some' of your employees. Of course not all. But the one's on referring to are just down-right rude and do not know courtesy. I'm a bit hard of hearing and when I asked 'what', instead of just saying it again, the jerk states; 'repeating, etc". That's just one, but it sure has stuck with me.

Submitted by Anonymous on

TSA employees work hard getting their big lazy Butts out of bed...And they work hard getting their big fat Butts up to get in their car going home. Replace Them All!

Submitted by Anonymous on

You say this now until an explosive is passed through seeing as a metal detector isn't capable of finding it. Or is another incident like 911 plenty enough

Submitted by Anonymous on

I can't believe all the negativism on the need for security on aircraft or in airports. On my last job I held 5 years before retirement (civil service) I was in a plane every 4-6 weeks traveling to different organizations to whichtaught classes or conducted inspections. Yes, I was furloughed and was not required to go to work on a shutdown due to appropriations. The TSA security people in airports should be considered "essential personnel" just because we need their presence in the airport to thwart anyone or anything that could be a danger to passengers or aircraft. Each time I stepped into an airplane during my required or personal travels I looked around the plane, and as passengers came in and held my breath, said many prayers that no one on that plane would be a terrorist. I was retired less than 9 months when 9-11 occurred Also, during my daily treks to work, I used a bus, train and bus to get to my workplace. The day after 9-11, I heard on TV that a terrorist was planned to bomb the bus that took me to my workplace. I was never so glad to be retired as I was then, something told me to get out of that situation. It was 9 months after I retired that this happened. Do any of you do extensive travel? If not, put yourselves in the shoes of people who HAVE to travel for their job and see how you feel looking at someone who you THINK might just be the one--the one with shifty eyes, the one who keeps looking around, the one who gets up from his seat very often. See how you feel. I welcome the security of the screening and you should, too. But I hate the ones who hold up the line because they "forgot" to take out the gun or knife. Come on--we're not all stupid! We need that kind of security at the airport BEFOReboarding the plane.

Submitted by Anonymous on

A simple walk through metal detector managed by a private company was in place on 9/11.. fyi

Submitted by Anonymous on

Screening is necessary. It's not a pleasant job. I don't agree with full body scans, behavior screening, or shoe removal. The TSA funding is a separate issue and should be treated as such. Typical of politicians to muddy the waters. I'm impressed with the drug and bomb sniffing dogs in some airports in Europe. Nothing gets past them. Will work for pets.

Submitted by Anonymous on

For those of you that think the non-essential personnel should be let go. Depending on your organization, essential personnel may be a small part or large part. Essential will keep you afloat, but you won't be operational.

Submitted by Thomas Joy on

I have never had a problem with TSA anywhere where I have flown. Some people complain about being detained to long or gripe about their privacy. American people have become a bunch of prudes and need to lighten up.

These agents take a lot of insults and abuse by TOUCH ME NOT PASSENGERS that feel they are being victimized and embarrassed by the process. Nobody is forcing you to fly.

Personally I have no complaints. At what point is not enough security vs to much security ?. You will never get everyone to agree on a specific policy.

Lighten up people or your next flight may come at 30,000 feet with someone sticking a gun in your ear.

Submitted by John Fiege on

I think both sides in this matter are wrong in their behavior. The public servants are not pawns in the game of political theater and neither is the public that relies on their work and dedication to help us in our daily lives. Our elected leaders should be ashamed of themselves in this waste of precious time and money. God forbid that politicians would have to live the way we have to.

Submitted by G Clarke on

It is unfortunate that our good TSA workers are caught up in a battle between Congress and President Obama's insistence of over extending his executive powers and give illegal immigrants a free pass to remain in the U.S.

Mr. Carraway, the President can stop the budget problem by withdrawing his E.O. and sitting down with Congress to a meaningful discussion on what to morally do with the illegal immigrant problem.

Submitted by Anonymous on

So I guess we should go back to the days before 911 where contract workers were in charge of airport screening? We all know what happened. I'm glad we have an agency to help prevent another attack on our homeland.

Submitted by Anonymous on

darn. someone beat me to the pink slip reference. it is true though. TSA rank and file should be shown the door. TSA should be a small office in FAA that sets standards and conducts audits. the idea that we spend $8B a year to allow gunrunning and utterly fail to protect us any better than pre-911 is sickening. it is worse when you consider that useful agencies like CBP and USCG get less $$, and do more to protect the public.

Submitted by Anonymous on

That is what they had when 9/11 happened.
If your loved one was on that flight you'd think differently

Submitted by Ingo Deters on

I believe almost all American citizens understand the value and need for the TSA. However, I'm disappointed that the official TSA Blog is used for personal observations which to me are political, and therefore a hindrance to professional work by TSA.

Submitted by Anonymous on

How is a simple metal detector going to prevent a bomb getting on a plane? You do know that they don't detect explosives, don't you?

Submitted by Anonymous on

you people are idiots!!! Did you forget 911 so sooon??? Do you want to be next?? Keep the TSA for everyones safety. The government are the idiots trying to get rid of the TSA, guess they don't care about everyday people like us.....stop whining, and support the TSA!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous on

Apparently most of these comments were made by people who don't fly.

Submitted by Joseph Haran on

I had a good, albeit tragic, laugh when I read a comment which included "It's unseemly for government agencies to engage in political discussions." Really? Since when is it "unseemly" to point out the consequences of a broken system? It's not "unseemly" to explain to the public one serves that one's paycheck won't be forthcoming! Those workers impacted by this decision of the U.S. Congress ought to contact their elected representatives in the House and Senate, explaining to them the concept of pay for work (something even millionaires should understand). Please keep having these so-called "political discussions" as there's a legal fixture called the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which promises freedom of speech. Speak!

Submitted by Anonymous on

"...I'm satisfied with tsa, though I can admit it needs well mannered and better educated screeners, I rather get on a plane knowing they checked everyone thoroughly than not."

But they have not checked everyone thoroughly! Example: the Atlanta airport employee gun-smuggling ring.

Submitted by Anonymous on


Submitted by Anonymous on

What TSA needs are managers that follow rules, regulations and policies consistently across the nation.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Does the IOU come with interest employees lost while the government failed to do their job?

Submitted by Anonymous on

So, if an employee made kissing noises and motions like Bohener did in public, that employee would be disciplined. Where is the outcry on this politician embarrassing America?

Submitted by Anonymous on

It is also unseemly for those in Congress to hold the lively hoods of their constituents hostage. They have made this a political issue not DHS. It is unfortunate to see the comments on here that call for pink slips or Officers not to show up to work. The real issue here is not if you love or hate TSA it is rathet that once again the two sides of the aisle are using those that they have sworn to serve for their own political and ultimately personal gain.

Submitted by Miguel De Marcos on

I agree. These fine people spend a lot of time and effort and hard work to keep the public SAFE. Like anyone else, they are working hard for an honest living and must be compensated for their hard work.

Submitted by Anonymous on

When TSA took THE oath to defend our home front they were not paid due to someone's working out the BUGS that were in the system, Now nearly a decade later the same BUGS come back home I say pay them hard workers that keep our flights SAFE!!!!!!!!!