TSA: Spike in airport screeners out sick during government shutdown

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are not getting paid during the partial government shutdown. From the possibility of long lines at security checkpoints to serious concerns about the safety of planes in the skies, the shutdown is taking a toll on the airline industry.

A letter from the largest pilots union to the White House is ringing the loudest alarm. The letter says a lack of inspectors and regulators is dangerous. One example: "... [at] the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) there are fewer safety inspectors than are needed in order to ensure the air traffic control infrastructure is performing at its peak levels of performance."

Fox 5 spokes to some passengers at JFK Airport who are reacting to a report from CNN saying that every day dozens of TSA workers are taking sick days at major airports across the United States. While they're not receiving paychecks from the federal government, reportedly some TSA agents are not showing up out of protest while others are looking for side jobs to pay the bills.

The TSA, however, is pushing back on the severity of the problems and said it is "monitoring the situation."

"Call outs began over the Holiday period and have increased, but are causing minimal impact given there are 51,739 employees supporting the screening process," TSA said in a statement on the CNN report. "Security effectiveness will not be compromised and performance standards will not change."

The agency said that wait times are "well within TSA standards" but that could change if the call-outs increase.

"TSA is grateful to the agents who show up to work, remain focused on the mission and respectful to the traveling public," TSA said, "as they continue the important work necessary to secure the nation's transportation systems."