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FAA workers picket outside Will Rogers World Airport

FAA workers hold signs reading "Don't gamble with aviation safety."(KOKH/Steven Anderson)

On Monday, Federal Aviation Administration workers affected by the government shutdown were picketing outside of Will Rogers World Airport.

It's not just their bank accounts that are taking a hit from not being paid, workers say the shutdown is impacting safety for flyers.

"Every day the shutdown continues, the aviation system in this country digs into a deeper and deeper hole," said Dave Spero, a regional vice president for the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union.

FAA workers held signs reading "Don't gamble with aviation safety."

The union says some furloughed workers would usually be overseeing any maintenance that airlines do on their planes.

"We also represent the aviation safety inspectors, who are not on the job currently, meaning that no one is overseeing maintenance programs of the airlines and no one is doing any spot checks to determine whether or not aircraft are air-worthy," Spero said.

"The safety inspectors are the ones who make sure the airlines are doing their jobs to keep things safe," said Kelly McGonigal, an air traffic systems specialist. "Not that the airlines aren't being safe, but when you don't have someone there to do the checks and balances, it's easy to cut corners."

The workers outside the airport were all members of the PASS union.

Most of them were supposed to get their paycheck this week.

"My wife works for the FAA also, so neither one of us is going to get paid," said Irvin Uzzle, an aeronautical information specialist at the FAA. "It's a strain on our household."

Uzzle was picketing on his day off, for the rest of the week he shows up for work without getting a paycheck.

"We need the shutdown to end," Uzzle said. "We come to work every day, and we don't get paid. I think they should have congressmen, as long as we're shutdown, not get paid also. Maybe it will put a fire under them."

PASS says almost 11,000 of its members who work for the FAA are either furloughed or working without pay across the country.







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