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Indianapolis air traffic workers feel the pain of partial government shutdown

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 21:32:19-05

INDIANAPOLIS — 309 air traffic controllers work in Indianapolis. And they are beginning to feel the pain of the partial government shutdown.

The jets continue to fly and the controllers continue to make sure that there is no chaos in the skies — but there is a price.

"We are working 6 days a week. Some are working 10 hours a day, that's across the country," said Marc Schneider, National Air Traffic Controllers Association President. "We are at a 30 year low in staffing for air traffic controllers nationwide. The school in Oklahoma is shutdown."

According to Schneider, controllers were recently trained on new technology: to text message pilots in the cockpit. Which was supposed to roll out today, and is now not happening because of the shutdown.

If it is not implemented by January 15, all the controllers will have to be retrained — at a high cost.

"It's a stressful job to begin with. These are people's lives we are dealing with," Scneider said. "Everyone just got done paying for Christmas and now there is no money coming in. Those are things we have to worry about."

Also at the airport, folks who work for the Transportation Security Administration, better known as 'TSA,' are on the job, and not getting paid.

They are represented by the American Federation of Government Employees who handle 30,000 workers in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky. That body is filing a lawsuit against the federal government.

"We're saying it's against the law to work employees without paying them. These are not slaves. It's against the law," said American Federation of Government Employees, Arnold Scott. "The fair labor standards require federal employees be paid for the work that they perform."

The hope is that the lawsuit will never get a hearing, because the government is reopened.

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