With the country’s partial government shutdown continuing and thousands of employees without paychecks, officials at Tampa International Airport have opened a pop-up food pantry this week to provide meals for some 700 federal workers.
That includes TSA agents, FAA personnel (including air traffic controllers) and U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers, according to an airport news release. Meals will be served during the lunch and dinner hours through Saturday, with coordination with United Way Suncoast and Feeding Tampa Bay.
The Hillsborough Aviation Authority, the agency that runs operations at Tampa International, also will be providing lunch to TSA, CBP and FAA employees today and this Thursday.
Tampa International’s assistance center also will have social service groups and Tampa Electric Company officials on site during the hours of operation this week to help workers access additional support services.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Miami International Airport says they have reopened a terminal today that was closed part of the weekend amid a staff shortage caused by the government shutdown. The airport didn’t have enough TSA agents to staff the security checkpoint at Concourse G for parts of Saturday and Sunday, according to news accounts.
Approximately 51,000 TSA agents are among the 800,000 government employees working without pay or on furlough, according to CNN.
The longest government shutdown in U.S. history began last month after President Donald Trump said he would not back off from his demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall to be structured along the Mexican border. Democrats consider funding for a wall to be a non-starter. The shutdown is now in its 24th day.
Florida has nearly 16,000 federal workers in the nine agencies affected by the shutdown. That’s according to Governing Magazine, compiling the latest data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
On Friday, a union representing thousands of air traffic controllers filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming its failure to pay the workers during an ongoing partisan government shutdown could endanger passengers’ safety.
It’s at least the third lawsuit filed by a union on behalf of federal employees who have not been paid during the shutdown, Reuters reports. The other cases were brought by unions that represent tens of thousands of border patrol and immigration agents, guards at federal prisons, and other workers.