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‘Angry, Frustrated and a Little Bit Sad’: TSA Agents Work Without Paychecks as Shutdown Continues

Every day, David Fairbanks commutes from Putnam, Connecticut, to work at Logan Airport in Boston. He's a TSA agent and considered an essential worker.

That status means he has to continue working, but not get a paycheck until the partial government shutdown, now in its 19th day, is over.

"I'm angry, frustrated, a little bit sad," Fairbanks said. "I'm sad because it seems like no one is giving federal workers the attention they need."

The 26-year-old leaves his home every morning at 8:30 to get to the Logan Express Shuttle in time to catch a ride at 10 a.m. The drive to work means he has to fill up his gas tank twice a week, pay several tolls, and pay for parking before he even makes it to work. He arrives at the airport for his 11:30 shift, three hours after he's left home.

TSA recently reported seeing a slick uptick in absences, but Fairbanks says pride in his work keeps him from making that call. He considers this his dream job after not being able to serve his country in the military due to a bum knee.

"I do, I really like the job," he said. "It's hard. Not everyone can do it. But it's rewarding, knowing I'm there to protect the American people from threats, it's very self-satisfying."

But with very little in savings and the bills starting to mount, he says he now spends his days off looking for a new job.

"I do my job regardless of my paycheck because it's my duty," he said. "But duty only gets you so far. It doesn't put food on the table or a roof over my head."

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