Amid the government shut down, which has left most people unaffected, TSA employees are now calling in sick by the hundreds. They refuse to work without pay, which is understandable, but why aren't they getting paid? The government is shut down, but if you book tickets online for a flight, you still have to pay the 9-11 security fees which are enough to get you a 60 minute massage, 20 times longer than the grope you'll get from the TSA. But hey, if we could figure out why we were still paying for services we weren't going to get, we'd probably know why we are still having taxes withheld when the IRS isn't issuing refunds.
Of course, the government employees will get their back pay and their breaks will count as paid time off, but they need money now. There are other jobs in the private sector that are willing to pay and have cash in hand, because they don't all work on a dangerously high deficit that keeps their business on the verge of collapse like the federarl government does.
But what will happen if more TSA agents refuse to work?
If enough of them leave, the airports will be unprotected. At least, that's what some congressmen will allude to. But the reality is, you are paying for this security. It's a hidden cost in the sale of your ticket. If the TSA refuses to show up, the feds could try to force the airports to shutdown, but that's unlikely. It's more likely that the airlines and airports will want to protect their businesses by hiring private security to screen passengers.
What will be interesting is if these new security members are able to work the bag scanners and metal detectors, but not the body scanners. We'd see what we already know, that the security circus doesn't protect anyone. We'd see that there are no threats, no hijackings, no attacks, and no weapons brought onto the planes. In fact, since we've seen so many weapons in the past slip through TSA, we'd probably see a lot fewer.
What happens when the government comes back online and all the TSA agents come back for their jobs?
Well if we're lucky, they'll be happily acclimated to their new jobs with employers that probably treat them with a little more respect, and customers who don't treat them like sexual predators. They might even be paid more, but let's be honest - a real business can't compete with the government's ability to overpay for labor and allegiance, with their unlimited supply of taxpayer's funds.
Whether they need to hire new people or the existing agents take their time coming back from their vacations, there will likely be a delay before the TSA is back up to speed. During this time, it's likely that all forms of statistics and reports will be made for the case to completely get rid of the TSA and just let the airports and airlines manage their own security - the way they used to.