Airplane travel is one of the places where millions of people are coming into contact with the effects of the government shutdown, and the whole range of people involved in that industry want to make sure you understand what’s going on. Air traffic controllers, whose role in flight safety cannot really be overstated, have been working without pay, and now their union is sharing those “Pay stubs reading a net pay of zero dollars” with the media, Politico reports.
But it’s not just workers concerned about their paychecks who are sounding the alarm. Aviation industry trade groups have written to Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to register that “This partial shutdown has already inflicted real damage to our nation’s aviation system and the impacts will only worsen over time.”
The presidents of two flight attendants unions have also written to Trump, McConnell, and Pelosi to “ask you to end the shutdown now.” Though flight attendants work for the airlines and so are being paid now, they see a threat to their industry that could lead to job losses:
As the shutdown continues the entire industry will begin to unravel. Airlines cannot receive delivery of aircraft causing route cancellations, attrition of air traffic controllers reduces the flow of aircraft in the air, and as transportation security officers reduce in numbers we will experience long, slowed security lines.
That’s one of the key things Trump fails to get about this shutdown: It’s not just hurting the people who aren’t getting paychecks, though that should be enough. Or the people whose food stamps are threatened, though that should be enough. When you hurt that many people, there’s a ripple effect as their pain becomes other people’s pain.