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Airlines, San Diego groups serving free lunch for federal workers

Posted at 7:33 AM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 10:33:50-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As the government shutdown continues to move along with seemingly no end in sight, the focus in San Diego has been to provide help for local federal workers feeling the pinch from the closure.

In recent weeks, various community organizations and local restaurants have pitched in to come to the aid of federal employees who haven't seen a paycheck in quite awhile, especially those workers with families to support.

On Thursday, several airlines, including Southwest, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Delta, and American Airlines, along with the San Diego Food Bank and USO San Diego, are stepping up and doing their part by hosting a Hawaiian BBQ lunch for 500 federal employees.

The workers will also be given groceries and diapers for those who have infants and toddlers and continue to work without pay during the shutdown.

The lunch is open to TSA, Customs and Border Protection and FAA employees, as well as U.S. Coast Guard personnel.

Service at the USO building located at Lindbergh Field will start at 11 a.m. and go until 4 p.m.

Union reps concerned over air travel safety

Union representatives with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, Air Line Pilots Association, and Association of Flight Attendants said they have serious safety concerns due to ongoing government shutdown.

A joint statement issued by the unions read, in part: “In our risk averse industry, we cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented.”

Presidents from each union said some major airports have had to close some security checkpoints, and they worry there’s more to come.

They said cyber security staff and safety inspectors have not returned to work at pre-shutdown levels.

The statement also said that air traffic control facilities were already at a 30-year low and controllers have had to work 10-hour days, six days a week, at some of the nation’s busiest airports.

It went on to say that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has frozen the hiring of new employees during the shutdown and there’s no plan in the works to fill critical staffing needs.

The statement ended with the unions asking for Congress and the White House to end the government shutdown immediately.