Airport Workers Trying to Get by During Longest Government Shutdown in US History

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PITTSTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The partial government shutdown is in its third week, and thousands of workers are not getting paid.

This government shutdown is now on day 22, making it the longest in U.S. history.

Here at home, federal workers are starting to wonder how they will make ends meet.

At the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, federal workers are trying to balance their budgets until the shutdown ends.

Leonard Ameika of Duryea says this is the first time in his life he has worked and did not get paid.

Ameika works as an air traffic controller at the airport in Luzerne County. Because of the government shutdown, his pay check was reduced to zeros.

"First time in my life I have come to work for 40 hours a week, 80 hours in a pay period, and received a paycheck for $0 for the work I have done," Ameika said.

Union officials say there are more than 20 employees who are not being paid during the government shutdown.

"Everything we do is live and moving at 500 miles per hour, so we need to separate our at-home life from our work life. When you are not getting paid, it is very tough."

Ameika joins the hundreds of thousands of other government workers across the country who weren't paid.

"When you hear the rhetoric of this can go on for months or years and you're trying to figure out how to live your life with no income even though you are working for months or possibly years and it has nothing to do with you," Ameika said.

Airport Executive Director Carl Beardsley says although workers are not getting paid, they haven't skipped a beat while on duty.

"That is because the good people who work for the Transportation Security Administration and FAA are making sure their customers are well taken care of," Beardsley said.

For Ameika, all he can do is hope the government shutdown does not last too much longer.

"Come into work tonight, the midnight shift overnight, and keep coming here, and keep working the safest airspace we can. It is our job," Ameika said.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association filed a lawsuit against the government, arguing that the government should not compel their members to work without pay.

7 comments

  • gfl ne

    Instead of worrying about your bills, do like I did. Just tell your creditors that Mexico will be paying your bills. Hopefully they are gullible too. But since they are probably smarter than that, I hope this nonsense ends soon so you people can be paid for your work.

  • lickerblisters

    After we get our wall financed, and you well paid government workers are back to getting paid again, for the love of God, salt away a little stash so you’re not getting caught with your pants down again. This isn’t the first government shutdown and it certainly won’t be the last!

  • My foot Foot

    Not paying , Air Trafiic controllers .. Airport Security….. Coast guard.. not inspecting our food… Does anyone feel safer ????? So Childish President Tweet.

    • jimbrony

      Eventually all these people will get paid for every second that they worked. And kudos to them for hanging in there and carrying on even though the paycheck didn’t come when it’s supposed to. Our President will get the wall this country needs, the wall that Nancy says we have no money for. But we have money to incarcerate the illegals, and all the other expenses that goes along with people being here illegally. Got it.

    • Crosstown

      70,000 Americans die each year from drug overdose, 63,000 Americans have been murdered by illegal’s in the US since 911, Number of women smuggled into the United States for sex trafficking in 2018 was 8759 , American tax payers spend 792 billion dollars a year for the illegal drug issues and illegals crossing the border. 5.7 billion was asked for since November to close trouble spots on the border. Dem’s say no claiming it is a manufacture crisis. Tell that to the families of the 133,000 that have died.
      Friday was the first pay not received by the government employees and I hope that the airport are shut down due to striking airport security. Then the 30 democrats who went on vacation to Puerto Rico along with there 108 rich lobbyist who paid for the plain with be stuck there a while.

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