The United States government has been partly shut down for over a month now, and each passing day brings a new challenge to a family in need.
With even this partial shutdown, there are 800,000 federal employees who are not getting paid – and that’s whether or not they come to work. For the TSA, this has meant an increasingly dangerous number of workers simply not showing up. With the organization having been forced into nearly every airport in the nation after 9/11, the lack of blue shirts on patrol has led to the shuttering of an entire terminal in Miami.
And let’s not get started with the Super Bowl, which is being played in Atlanta, GA this year. The Peach State’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport is considered the busiest in the entire world. With a lack of TSA agents on hand for the influx of tourists, things could get severely ugly.
The IRS is also not immune from the stalemate. Recently, the agency put out a call to bring back up to 46,000 workers in order to properly process tax refunds in the coming weeks.
The only problem now is that they don’t want to.
Less than a week before tax season is slated to open for the new filing season, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doors remain largely closed. However, as part of the IRS Shutdown Contingency Plan, 46,052 employees have been designated as “excepted/exempt,” sending tens of thousands of IRS employees back to work without pay. However, some are fighting back by asking for permission to stay home. Those absences are throwing the tax season open into question and raising concerns about whether the IRS will be able to process tax returns and issue taxpayer refunds on time.
The way in which these workers are demanding to stay at home could have a rippling effect throughout the nation as well.
IRS employees who are asking to stay home are using a clause in their union contracts that offers an exemption for an economic hardship. The exemption is based on financial circumstances and is not limited to the shutdown.
That union, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food & Drug Administration, the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Should this union push forward with their exemption, the same could theoretically apply to any or all of the 800,000 federal workers currently being expected to work without pay.
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