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Orlando International Airport Reduces TSA Workers' Hours for the Second Time This Month

Photo: Artur Tumasjan @arturtumasjan
Photo: Artur Tumasjan @arturtumasjan

TSA officers at Orlando International Airport are getting more paid days off to reduce their exposure to coronavirus. Nine officers have tested positive for the virus so far. 

The union for TSA officers says the new measures don’t go far enough. 

Full-time and part-time TSA officers at the airport will now get two paid days off a week. In an email to officers, Deputy Federal Security Director Greg Hawko said most workers will get four consecutive days away from the airport.

But Deb Hanna, president of the union representing Orlando's TSA officers, says only shutting down the airport can slow the spread of coronavirus.

“Am I going to meet somebody at the airport that is not showing any symptoms and I had to pat them down or be close to them, and then I take it home to my family?”

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Hanna says the only problem is the federal government or the Federal Aviation Authority would need to make that call, and they won't as long as airlines want to push out their normal flights. 

“And it’s ridiculous that the greed of the airlines is keeping the airports open.”

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Hanna said morale is low among TSA officers, especially as a ninth screener has become ill with the virus. But, she says workers will be getting N-95 masks to help protect them from coronavirus. 

And the union is reaching out on Facebook to people who need food and other assistance. 
If you'd like to listen to the story, click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter and fill-in host at WMFE.
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