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Milwaukee Airport Workers Protest Government Shutdown

Emily Files
Jenna and Kate Preibisch are the wife and daughter of a Mitchell Airport worker affected by the government shutdown. "We're looking at ways that we can cut back. I've cancelled doctor's appointments," Jenna said.

Hundreds of airport safety workers in Wisconsin have gone without pay during the federal government shutdown. A small group of them picketed outside General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee Saturday.

The members of the aviation safety specialists union kept the informational picket small because they wanted to be inside the airport, where they could hand out information to travelers. But they say management told them they had to go outside, to a remote corner with almost no foot traffic, for safety reasons. 

Brittany Covington is a union representative and aviation safety worker who has been working without pay. 

“I’m just living off my savings right now," Covington said. "With no end in sight to the shutdown, I don’t know how many more paychecks I’m going to miss.” 

Lee Teasley is an FAA engineering technician who has been furloughed since the shutdown started. He said employees like him are essential to air travelers' safety. 

"It all boils down to your safety and how safe do you want your national airspace to be? You're paying your tax dollars during the shutdown, but you're not getting what you paid for," Teasley said.

The partial shutdown is now the longest-running in U.S. history.

Emily is WUWM's education reporter and a news editor.
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