According to an informed source of the situation that was not allowed to talk to the media, more than 1,000 TSA employees are still waiting to be paid in full. The exact number remains unclear, as employees continue to complain about still having money at closing.
During the partial closure of the government, which lasted from December 22nd to January 25th, CNN was the first to announce that hundreds of TSA controllers were not showing up for work, as it became more and more difficult to reach both ends for many employees without their usual salary. The shortage of staff has resulted in long lines at some airports during the 35 days of standstill and has even forced some of them to close security checkpoints.
When the closure ended, President Donald Trump stated that the payment of salary arrears to federal employees would be the priority, and the Budget Management Office instructed agencies to give priority to the reimbursement of its employees.
In a statement, the TSA estimated that about 1,000 of the total number of employees were unpaid.
"Of the 60,000 employees of the TSA, about 1,000 across the country require some kind of wage adjustment," reads in the agency statement. The agency says she continues to deal with these corrections, which mainly concern a pay period.
The median salary at the ASD is less than $ 41,000, according to data from 2017 and published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A TSA official who is "frustrated by the situation" said that the delay in payment is a self-inflicted injury. The manager, who spoke anonymously because they are not allowed to talk to the media, attributes this to Pekoske's action during the shutdown.
"The problems are related to the pay period 26," said the manager, referring to the last pay period of 2018 partially paid to encourage workers to stay at work. The TSA had then indicated that a week of late payment had been paid.
"It seems that their efforts to pay part of the people have ruined everything and that they continue to fend for themselves," the source said.
TSA declined to comment further.
On-call discussion with TSA Field Offices
The current problem of salary arrears was the subject of a phone call that TSA headquarters held Wednesday with field offices throughout the country, according to a partial transcript obtained by CNN.
During the call, Karen Shelton Waters, who oversees human resource issues at TSA headquarters, explained that the agency's help desk and the administrator himself were overwhelmed with questions, concerns and complaints about the situation, according to the transcript.
Waters is quoted in the transcript, explaining why the agency understands why about 1,000 TSA workers have still not received their full pay, indicating the right time for the agency to decide to pay workers during the closure.
"Pay period 26 was the partial pay we had paid and the rest of that pay period should have been a correction made by the system once funding was restored," she said.
"Our calendar (…) could not have been poorer in terms of partial payment – we actually got the authorization to do it almost simultaneously with the reinstatement of funding," he said. she adds.
The result is an administrative mess. The agency is now working to modify its system to reflect the fact that the employees have already received a partial payment, so that the balance due to them is accurate.
"If I pay you a partial payment, I will not be able to pay you more than your work," the source said. "They have to go back and match what worked and everything has to be done manually to make sure the difference due to the employees is accurate."
The TSA official added, "The administrator used the money from FY18 to pay part of the TSA employees, which made the purpose of the closure lose their focus. at work because of a number creates more problems for employees and they treat it a month after the end of the closure. "
The National Finance Center, which deals with human resource issues for the TSA, did not respond to a request for comment.
During the call, Waters provided an email address where employees can report problems to the agency, but it's hard to know when TSA will pay for all of its employees.