Aviation employees picket at Will Rogers over government shutdown, warning of safety impact

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OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The government shutdown is now the longest in American history, and aviation employees at Will Rogers World Airport hope to bring its reach to everyone's attention.

Members of Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), a union, stood outside the terminal Monday, wanting the traveling public to know the shutdown impacts everyone's safety.

"A lot of people think this shutdown is just a D.C. thing, but it affects a lot of people here in Oklahoma," said Kelly McGonigal with the union.

The small group present Monday afternoon represents a much larger organization. The men present were off Monday, while much of their comrades are working without pay, if they are working at all.

"We've got guys out there, now in the back in their mind how are they going to feed their family? How are they going to pay for childcare? They still have to pay for gas to come to work everyday," said McGonigal.

"We have aviation safety inspectors who are responsible for the air worthiness of aircraft who are not on the job right now," said David Spero, also with PASS.

Safety concerns stretch from the FAA to the TSA, as many agents, going unpaid, are calling in sick nationwide.

"The very day that the new governor of this state is taking the oath of office and wanting to move the state forward into a new era, he's being thrown a dead dog by Washington D.C., telling him 'hey, we`re not going to pay a lot of your constituents,'" said Spero.

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