Wednesday, August 3, 2011

FAA Shutdown Means Workers Must Pay To Work

FAA Shutdown Means Workers Must Pay To Work

The failure of Congress to authorize a budget for the Federal Aviation Administration has put some 4,000 agency employees and tens of thousands of contractors temporarily out of work. But even some FAA workers who haven't been furloughed find themselves in a peculiar financial jam.

Roughly 40 FAA inspectors have been asked to continue working despite the stoppage because their jobs are important for air safety. Yet since Congress hasn't allocated money to the agency, these employees have to cover their own travel expenses until the shutdown is resolved. Although their wages and expenses will eventually be recouped, these workers will end up covering work-related credit charges -- and possibly interest -- until funding is freed up.

The inspectors are among the thousands who will suffer the real consequences of congressional deadlock.

With the process stalled, Democrats fumed over what they described as a shotgun approach to negotiating by Republicans.

"The House Republicans' insistence on attaching anti-worker provisions to an aviation bill has brought about a terrible stalemate that is hurting the economy," Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said in a statement. "From day 1, House GOP leaders admitted openly -- almost proudly -- that they were doing this to gain 'leverage' toward a larger goal -- undermining worker rights."

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