Shutdown affects AZ parks, paychecks, and security

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The government shut down is already hurting Arizonans’ paychecks, security, and how families spend their free time.

Because officers with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are considered “essential” federal employees, many will return to work and accumulate hours on the job without knowing when they’ll be compensated.

[READ MORE: Government shuts down as lawmakers still searching for a deal]

“Does it affect morale?  I’m pretty sure it does,” says Juan Casarez, local president of 1250 American Federation of Government Employees. The union largely represents TSA officers, the most visible security officials to travelers passing through Sky Harbor Airport.

Casarez says many TSA families will struggle with the uncertainty of their next paycheck.

“My understanding is we are one of the lowest paid in the federal system,” says Casarez. “So we live paycheck to paycheck.”

Casarez says the union is strong and will work closely with management to assist employees through the shutdown. He says valley TSA officers remain committed to their mission as public servants.

[RELATED: Dreamers renew call for DACA fix amid government shutdown]

“Our goal is to provide safety and the best security.”

The shutdown would have taken a hold on one of our state’s most popular tourism attractions, but Gov. Doug Ducey took to twitter Saturday to announce the Grand Canyon National Park will remain open through the shutdown.

Governor’s Office spokesman, Patrick Ptak, says the state estimates a cost of $100,000 a week to keep the gates open to visitors.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Politics]

Many other national parks and monuments in Arizona remain closed

Some Arizona National Guard members have learned they are now on emergency furlough. In a letter dated January 19th, 859 members who cannot return to work during the shutdown were told the furlough “bears no reflection on the value or contributions each of you make.”

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