TAMPA, Fla. — You may not see them when you fly, but without air traffic controllers planes would be stuck on the tarmac.
“The system is safe and will continue to be safe. But I can't predict what would happen to the system if we had to go on for months or years,” said Rob Hoss, a Tower Controller at Tampa International airport.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is suing the Government over the shutdown and claims congress is violating their Fifth Amendment rights by not paying them.
They say the Government is also violating the Fair Labor standards. They say they should be paying air traffic controllers a minimum wage.
Hoss says his wife is also a tower controller and they are worried about paying their bills.
“Our kids are in daycare and we can't pay for that right now. You know, our mortgages are not getting paid. So that does add an extra level of stress to our environments,” he said.
They’re also worried about safety. The big concern and reason for the shutdown is border control funding. He says air traffic controllers offer a “virtual border” that keeps folks we don’t want in out of our airspace.
"Some of our brothers and sisters in the center's work operations where people are trying to come into our airspace without cause or without reason, who are trying to violate our airspace and there are first lines of defense as well,” he said.
The Air traffic controllers association is demanding the government pay its members for the work they’ve done.