Union, chef team up to feed air­port work­ers

The State (Sunday) - - Local - BY DAVID TRAVIS BLAND tb­[email protected]­tate.com

A lo­cal chef and the largest union in the United States part­nered to give re­lief to work­ers at Columbia’s air­port who are go­ing with­out pay dur­ing the gov­ern­ment shut­down.

On Satur­day, the AFLCIO to­gether with Kris­tian Neimi, the chef and owner of Bourbon on Main Street in down­town Columbia, pro­vided a meal for TSA work­ers at the Columbia Metropoli­tan Air­port.

“Our mem­bers are con­cerned with mak­ing ends meet. Many of our mem­bers that are be­ing forced to work with­out pay are con­cerned with how to pay for gas to get to work. Many mem­bers are wor­ried how they are go­ing to pay their mort­gage or rent,” the AFL-CIO said in a state­ment.

Trans­po­ra­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion work­ers chiefly screen pas­sen­gers and lug­gage at air­ports to en­sure safety. TSA em-

ploy­ees are work­ing with­out pay dur­ing the gov­ern­ment shut­down, ac­cord­ing to a New York Times ar­ti­cle, and many are call­ing out sick or find­ing other work, is­sues that are ex­pected to worsen as the shut­down is pro­longed.

In North Carolina, a food bank has been de­liv­er­ing food to TSA em­ploy­ees who work at the Raleigh-durham In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Of­fi­cials with the Mi­ami In­ter­na­tional Air­port have al­ready sched­uled a tem­po­rary shut­down of one of their ter­mi­nals due to a lack of TSA work­ers be­ing avail­able.

The pres­i­dent of the TSA Coun­cil of the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of Gov­ern­ment Em­ploy­ees, Hy­drick Thomas, was quoted in the New York Times say­ing this week that “ex­treme fi­nan­cial hard­ship” had driven some of his mem­bers to re­sign and many oth­ers to con­sider do­ing so.

TSA work­ers earn about $35,000 a year on av­er­age, ac­cord­ing to union of­fi­cials who spoke with the Times.

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