Air traffic controllers forced to work without pay during shutdown

by: Dave Huddleston Updated:

More than 1,000 air traffic controllers keep the planes flying in metro Atlanta, but union representative Victor Santore said they stopped getting paid Oct. 1.

ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned the federal government is forcing thousands of local workers to show up for work, but they're not paying them because of the government shutdown.

More than 1,000 air traffic controllers keep the planes flying in metro Atlanta, but union representative Victor Santore said they stopped getting paid Oct. 1.

"All these people have one of the most stressful occupations in the world and we're adding to that stress every day," Santore told Channel 2's Dave Huddleston.

Santore represents more than 3,000 air traffic controllers in the southeast. He said, when the government shut down, it cut off their wages even though air traffic controllers are mandated to come to work like normal.

"People are looking at their pay stubs ... and seeing they got about half and they know the next one is going to be zero. They're very, very frustrated with Congress," Santore said.

Santore said they've sent letters to lawmakers telling them to resolve the government impasse.

Huddleston talked to some airport passengers about the controllers being forced to come to work but not get paid for it.

Aja Ellis said that doesn't make any sense.

"It would feel not worth it to come in knowing you don't have means to pay for gas, pay for bills or whatever you have to pay for," Ellis said.

"People want to work. They love their jobs. They're very good at what they do. They just don't need the stress of not getting paid at the same time. We need Congress to act," Santore said.

During the last government shut down, Santore said air traffic controllers were only furloughed for a day but got paid for the other days worked. He said this is the first time they are being forced to go without a check at all.

Santore said the controllers will get reimbursed for lost wages, but not until Congress can resolve their differences.