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Port of Seattle reacts to partial government shutdown

The Port of Seattle on Tuesday (Jan. 8) issued the following reaction to the partial government shutdown, which may already be affecting over 2,000 federal aviation and security professionals at Sea-Tac Airport:

Safety and security are the top priorities at the Port of Seattle. The Port relies heavily on federal partners—including Transportation Security Administration officers for security screening, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers for customs processing and Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers—to make American travel and trade as safe as it is today.

“Workers who are deemed essential to our nation’s safety and productivity deserve their full paychecks this Friday. They did not waver in their commitment to the public good. We need to pay them,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Stephanie Bowman. “This partial federal shutdown is not making our borders or our facilities safer or more secure. The Trump administration needs to end this shutdown now.”

Despite the partial federal government shutdown, screening wait times for passengers and aviation and maritime cargo remain average for this time of year. The Port has not experienced significant delays in arrivals or departures beyond what you would expect during winter operations.

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Wayfinding sign at security checkpoint at Sea-Tac Airport, Sept. 20, 2018.

The Port of Seattle is working closely with federal partners and airport contractors to keep operations as close to normal as possible. The fact that travelers continue to experience mostly normal operations proves the professionalism and dedication of our federal partners.

The Port is taking action as well. The Port will provide supplemental staff when needed to assist with non-regulatory airport screening procedures to ensure that federal employees can focus on their required tasks.

Today approximately 2,000 federal aviation and security professionals are working at Port facilities without the guarantee of a paycheck due to the partial government shutdown. Without pay, these federal government employees and their families will soon be unable to afford basic necessities such as housing, food and education.

The Port is determining what actions it may legally take to support these federal aviation and security professionals, including looking into partnerships with local nonprofit financial institutions who can offer zero interest loans to federal employees working at the Port who are not being paid because of the partial government shutdown. While state and federal laws limit what we can do, we will find a way to be there for the federal workers who are upholding their promise to serve the public.

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