DFW Air Traffic Controllers Work Through Shutdown With No Paychecks in Sight - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

DFW Air Traffic Controllers Work Through Shutdown With No Paychecks in Sight

One air traffic controller says some of his colleagues have discussed taking a second job

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    DFW Air Traffic Controllers Work Through Shutdown

    Terry Donaldson has been an air traffic controller at the DFW Terminal Radar Approach Control for about 10 years. He continues to go to work without pay during the shutdown.

    (Published Monday, Jan. 7, 2019)

    The partial government shutdown continues into its third week.

    With no clear end in sight, the situation is becoming more real for thousands of federal workers still going to work without pay.

    Terry Donaldson has been an air traffic controller at the DFW Terminal Radar Approach Control for about 10 years.

    "This is a high-pressure, high-volume environment. We work a lot of airplanes. We're responsible for all the flights into, out of and through the DFW metroplex area," Donaldson said.

    Government Shutdown Enters Third Week

    [NATL] Government Shutdown Enters Third Week

    Approximately 800,000 federal employees continue to work without pay as the federal government remains partially shut down for a third week. Donald Trump and Democratic lawmakers continue to fight over funds to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, with Trump threatening to declare a national emergency to fund the wall if Democrats will not budge. 

    (Published Monday, Jan. 7, 2019)

    He's also a member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, a union that represents more than 20,000 aviation professionals nationwide.

    Donaldson's job is considered "essential," and he is still going to work during the shutdown despite not getting paid.

    "It seems to be just dragging on, and the uncertainty is definitely an anxiety for myself and my colleagues," he said.

    Donaldson said on top of the shutdown, they are facing other issues like a 30-year low in staffing.

    He said many air traffic controllers are already working overtime.

    "That means working six days a week, sometimes 10-hour days," he said.

    Shutdown Hasn't Had Big Impact on N. Texas Security Lines

    [DFW] Partial Government Shutdown Has Not Yet Significantly Impacted TSA Security Lines in North Texas

    A spokesperson for TSA said that at DFW Airport 5.5 percent of the TSA workforce called out on Friday compared to 3.5 percent on a normal day. He said the difference is "not significant."

    (Published Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019)

    Unsure of when their next paycheck will arrive, Donaldson said some of the workers have started to talk about getting a second job.

    "I've heard people talking about doing ride share work, heard about taking jobs bartending, waiting tables… anything to put food on their tables," he said.

    He said he hadn't heard of any of his coworkers calling out at this time, and that safety remains their top priority.

    Donaldson said he hoped the government finds a solution to the shutdown soon.

    "The stakes are too high for our men and women who are professionals protecting the safest, most efficient, busiest airspace in the world to be used as leverage in a political dispute," he said.

    Get the latest from NBC DFW anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android