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TSA workers to finally get paychecks after government shutdown ends

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Posted at 4:55 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 22:40:58-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — TSA workers in San Diego rejoiced after hearing the end to the partial government shutdown — but some remained skeptical.

“It’s not fair. It really isn’t," TSA employee, Marina Zavala said.

Zavala has been a baggage screener for the last 16 years. This means that she has experienced a government shutdown, once before. The first shutdown in 2013 came as a shock.

“You live paycheck to paycheck, and it’s hard sometimes," Zavala said.

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This time, she was better prepared. She recruited support from her family and made sure her finances were squared away.

“This is something that is expected when you work for the government," Zavala said.

Like 800,000 of her fellow federal government workers, Zavala had not received a paycheck since Dec. 22, 2018. While many of her colleagues around the country called out sick, Zavala felt the need to stay.

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“The incentive? Eventually, we’ll get paid. But we have a job to do. If we don’t do it, who is going to do it?” asked Zavala.

During the "End the Shutdown" rally at San Diego International Airport Friday, President Trump made the announcement they were all waiting to hear.

"I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government."

This means Zavala will be able to afford rent at the first of the month.

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“Happy. Relief, definitely,” she said.

But the government’s reopening is only promised until Feb. 15. Some are skeptical that the temporary reopening will not lead to a permanent solution.

"Issuing a CR [Continuing Resolution] doesn’t fix the problem. It’s just kicking the can just a little further down and having to deal with this issue again in three weeks," National VP of AFGE union George McCubbin said.

Zavala is hoping lawmakers reach a compromise, so she will not have to jump on another emotional roller coaster.

“I wish they would change the policy of not paying us when the government is shut down. I wish there was a separate budget or something, but that’s out of my pay grade," she laughed.

It will take the government at least two to three days to process payroll, so it's unclear when these workers will have the hard-earned money in hand.