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Could TSA Go On Strike?

Two TSA officers
Casey Kuhn/KJZZ
editorial | staff
Two TSA officers finished a shift at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and immediately came down to help bag food to give out to colleagues during the government shutdown in January 2019.

One of the most visible group of government workers hit by the partial shutdown are Transportation Security Administration workers, the TSA. And like other federal workers, they cannot strike in protest.

In 1981, federal employees tested that. Tens of thousands of air traffic controllers went on strike. They challenged President Ronald Reagan to address their working conditions, and the president gave them 48 hours to return to work. When they didn’t, he fired them all.

Today there are questions as to whether TSA — and other government employees — can strike now. Georgetown’s Joseph McCartin is an expert labor historian. He joined The Show to explain how this situation might be different.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.