Senator Durbin Speaks to Air Traffic Controllers Working Without Pay

The government has been shutdown for 33 days, and those impacted are sharing their stories

Air traffic controllers at Chicago’s airports are feeling the pain during the federal government shutdown.

One of those controllers, Toby Hawk, and his colleagues are not getting paid, but they’re still showing up to work.

“It’s a tough job, and things are starting to deteriorate,” he said. “We land 124 planes an hour at O’Hare.”

Senator Dick Durbin invited those air traffic controllers, as well as other federal workers, to share their stories as he continues to call on President Donald Trump to work with Congress to re-open the government.

“The stress this is putting on these men and women is unacceptable, and it’s not safe either,” he said. “We want to make sure they can focus on their jobs instead of focusing on who’s going to pay the medical bills for their children. We want to make sure they’re focusing on safety of aircraft instead of the loan they just took out, and how they’re going to pay for it.”

More than 8,000 federal workers in Illinois are working without pay, and now some air traffic controllers are making the difficult decision to potentially walk away.

“If you have a house plant and you don’t water it for 33 days, eventually the plant starts to look beaten down,” Hawk said. “That’s kind of where we’re at.”

The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a proposal to re-open the government, and Senator Durbin says he plans to share the frustrations he heard from air traffic controllers and share them with his colleagues in Congress.

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