MEDFORD, Ore. — Despite news that an unprecedented number of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers are calling in sick as they continue to work without pay through the government shutdown, the Jackson County Airport Authority said on Wednesday that it hasn't seen the same trend here in the Rogue Valley.
"Here at the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport it is business as usual," said Debbie Smith, Deputy Director of Security at the airport.
Earlier this week, multiple national news outlets confirmed with the TSA that the rate of unscheduled absences last weekend had reached 10 percent. By comparison, the agency saw only 3.1 percent at this time last year.
As "essential" government workers, TSA agents have not been furloughed by the ongoing partial government shutdown — they must work without pay if they want to keep their jobs.
According to a statement from Smith, the Rogue Valley airport has not seen "any significant change" in their security wait times. They also have not seen an unusually high number of TSA workers calling in sick.
"This could be attributed to MFR TSA officers' dedication to their community and to the TSA Mission," Smith said.
TSA policy does not allow their officers to take gifts at the screening checkpoint, according to Smith. That said, some people in the local community have rallied to help out TSA workers in any way that they can — like Lisa Allen at Great Harvest Bread Company.
Smith underlined that, although TSA wait times at MFR are lower than the national average, passengers should try to arrived two hours prior to boarding time in order to park, get through ticketing, and go through security.