Dozens of protesters with the AFL-CIO, some of them government workers, were out in full force Tuesday outside Republican Rep. Joe Heck’s office in Las Vegas, demanding that he and the other Republicans in Congress reopen the government before something terrible happens.
“Morale is so low at airport security that quite frankly if terrorists were smart, now would be the time to hit the system when it’s at an all-time low,” said Steve Hadsell, a Transportation Security Administrator officer who also serves as vice president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1240.
Hadsell is the screener who tells you to take your shoes off and make sure your labtop is shut off.
He said about 1,000 TSA workers from McCarran International Airport to Reno-Tahoe International Airport have been showing up for work even though they haven’t been paid since Sept. 30. They aren’t too happy about it, he said, noting that some are even logging overtime, trusting that their government will eventually pay them.
What’s more, quite a few of the customers who pass through airport security are at a loss as to why they are reporting to work if they’re not getting paid, Hadsell said.
“They keep asking our officers, ‘Why?’ ‘Why would you do such a thing?” said Hadsell, 50, who held up a sign for the 45-minute protest near Pebble Road and Eastern Avenue: “No IOUs. Federal employees need paid now.”
He added: “This isn’t a union issue anymore. This is about standing up for our rights.”
Heck spokesman Greg Lemon said the protesters have no reason to be angry at the congressman, noting Heck has supported every continuing resolution that has come to the House floor during the recent funding debate.
Moreover, Lemon said since the partial shutdown, the House has voted to fund key portions of the government and that all of the bills passed with bipartisan support.
Heck has also made it clear that he supports paying back those workers who are now working for free, Lemon said.
“Obviously negotiations are ongoing in reopening the government and addressing the debt limit. We’re still working on it and are engaged in it,” Lemon said.
Heck, who was first elected to the House in November 2010, will face re-election in November 2014. He has been the target of numerous protests and TV ads over the past year by Democratic groups that want to take back the 3rd Congressional District, which is balanced between Democrats and Republicans.
Contact reporter Tom Ragan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5512.