This weekend, the currently unfolding partial federal government shutdown will become the longest in American history. Hundreds of thousands are being forced to work without pay — including air traffic controllers with the Federal Aviation Administration, who have now banded together under the banner of The National Air Traffic Controllers Association for a lawsuit against the government. They allege that they’ve been deprived of their Constitutional right to due process because of their pay getting abruptly cut off.
As their lawsuit casts the situation:
‘Each day, the FAA’s Air Traffic Controllers are responsible for ensuring the safe routing of tens of thousands of flights, often working lengthy, grueling overtime shifts to do so. In fact, plaintiffs’ job is so demanding and requires such rare stills that the FAA struggles to maintain a full complement of certified Air Traffic Controllers.’
Despite this situation being in place, more than 24,000 FAA workers are currently facing the prospect of indefinite periods with no pay.
Elsewhere in government, employees are facing similar situations, and The Washington Post shares that workers at the Departments of Justice, Agriculture, and Homeland Security have had a similar suit filed on their behalf.
President Donald Trump has long touted the supposed wonders he’s working for the American economy, including through creating jobs right in the United States. Yet, thanks to his refusal to approve any further government funding without billions of dollars for a border wall, he has personally put hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work. Besides those expected to still come into work because “life and safety” depend on their positions, more than 17,000 workers just at the FAA have been indefinitely dismissed.
This week, House Democrats sought to reopen agencies including the Transportation Department, which the FAA operates as a part of, via approving previously Senate committee approved spending provisions. They earned modest support from House Republicans, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to bring any spending bills to a full floor vote without a guarantee the president will sign it.
Trump has not proven keen on hearing out any concerns about the ongoing shutdown to the point of approving funding without his wall.
In addition to the struggling personnel, since the FAA isn’t on the scene as much as they would be otherwise, there are issues poised to crop up that interests like the Airline Pilots Association, International’s President Joe DePete outlined in a publicly available letter calling on Trump to end the shutdown.
As he put it:
‘The nation’s airspace system is a complex transportation network that involves government and industry partnerships to function properly, and the disruptions being caused by the shutdown are threatening the safe operations of this network.’
Trump doesn’t seem to care.
Days after addressing the nation about the supposed wall-mandating crisis at the southern border from the Oval Office on Tuesday, he visited the border himself, taking his rhetoric with him through the whole process. Friday, after returning to D.C., Trump proclaimed the U.S. to be facing an “invasion” from migrants — which is a ludicrous assertion to make about asylum seekers fleeing violence.
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