Air traffic controllers voice their concerns over government shutdown at Miami International Airport

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - Air traffic controllers at Miami International Airport spoke to passengers and voiced their concerns over the government shutdown.

On Tuesday afternoon, aviation workers passed out pamphlets denouncing the shutdown and explained that this isn’t just about their paychecks but safety issues as well.

“Safety is our number one priority. Always has been, always will be,” said Jim Marinetti, one of the air traffic controllers, “but I have to tell you, as this continues to go on, we are seeing the layers of safety, the redundancies in the system that keep the sky safe, starting to peel away.”

Workers explained that they are worried problems will arise from delays in maintenance and air traffic staff shortages.

They also said the shutdown negatively effects 12 million jobs in aviation, and they are speaking out so that those flying can be informed on how this affects flight and safety specialists working at the airport.

Workers expressed their uncertainty on what will happen next since this is the second pay period that they are not receiving pay for.

“This is uncharted territory for us. We’ve never seen this,” said Marinetti.

For the government workers, no pay can sometimes mean they’re unable to buy groceries.

Webby’s Grub and Pub in Plantation is trying to fill the gap for those most affected.

“They can bring their bags. They can grab some non-perishable foods for the time they need some help,” said Alana Ramos.

“They’re out there protecting us as much as possible. They shouldn’t have to be worrying about where their next meal is coming from,” added Helen Litsky.

Local legislators are now trying to introduce a bill so service members in South Florida can get paid.

“It’s important that we help these people at this time,” said Miami-Dade Commissioner Pepe Diaz. “They’re out there to help us. It’s our turn to help them.”

With no immediate end in sight, travelers said all of the uncertainty is unsettling.

“Personally, I think the whole thing is ridiculous, but we always have concerns. You’re concerned about your safety,” said traveler Audrey Long.

Many airport workers affected by the partial shutdown said passengers can expect more delays.

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