The government shutdown in the US is wearing on the nerves of federal employees. TSA agents at John F Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York, who are working without pay, have begun protesting by playing explicit hip hop music inside the terminal.
The government employees, who have been working for almost 30 days without compensation, have decided to make their dissatisfaction known through song.
According to travelers at the airport, the TSA has been blaring hip hop classics with uncensored expletives from artists like Travis Scott, Kanye West and Drake. A spokesperson for JFK Airport told Business Insider that TSA employees are allowed to choose the music that plays at several of the airport's eight terminals. The airport, reportedly, has no intention of disciplining the agents.
The current government shutdown, the longest shutdown in US history, affects an estimated 51,000 TSA agents, who are among the 800,000 government employees who are expected to work without pay. CNN has reported that hundreds of agents are calling in sick at airports across the country in response to the shutdown, though the TSA has sought to downplay the severity of the crisis.
Department of Homeland Security spokesman Tyler Q. Houlton recently tweeted, “Security operations at airports have not been impacted by a non-existent sick out. CNN has the cell numbers of multiple @TSA public affairs professionals, but rather than validate statistics, they grossly misrepresented them.”
This past Tuesday, however, the TSA admitted that they had experienced more than double the normal number of call-outs. The current national rate stands at 6.8 percent for unscheduled absences. The rate last year in January was 2.5 percent. At Miami and Houston International Airports, some TSA checkpoint have been closed as a result of the shutdown, yet the TSA continues to insist that flying is as safe as ever.
“JFK is playing Sicko Mode -- we’re living in a simulation,” one person Tweeted. https://t.co/f0thwihrIY— KSAT 12 (@ksatnews) January 17, 2019
“Security standards will NOT and have NOT been compromised,” TSA’s Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs Michael Bulello wrote on Twitter last Friday. “TSA has and will continue to maintain security standards at our nation’s airports.”
The government, which closed on December 22 after President Donald Trump was denied funding for a southern border wall, has failed to find a resolution to the crisis. On the one hand, Trump says the wall is needed to combat a “crisis” of drugs, violence and human trafficking. On the other, Congressional Democrats have called the wall immoral and useless, yet they remain open to discussing border security once the shutdown ends.