Newsom Tells Washington to ‘Grow Up’ at Meeting with Struggling TSA Workers

SACRAMENTO -- Food banks open more days and longer hours. Gas cards and hotel discounts for those who can't afford to commute.

Those are just a few of the ideas offered up by federal workers on furlough in this government shutdown as they shared their frustration with the governor Thursday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's promised to let them file for unemployment, even though it goes against federal rules. The catch was the "working without pay but with the promise of pay" when the shutdown resolves. That's what normally makes people ineligible for state unemployment.

The governor said the U.S. Department of Labor is being callous and that his state intends to do what the federal government should be.

Five years ago, providing that much-needed level of security is what motivated Kelly Eads to become the youngest Transportation Security Administration officer at Sacramento International Airport at just 18.

"This is something that I can serve my country and do, something that's important and meaningful," Eads said. "I know that I've stopped guns from getting through the checkpoint and to me that's something important."

Also vitally important is the pay from that job, which covers childcare costs for her and her boyfriend's two children, as well as other necessities. That check has been withheld as part of the government shutdown, even though Eads still has to come to work.

"I'm nervous about paying for rent in February and we're nervous to be able to buy enough food to be able to cover us the next for the two weeks until he gets paid," Eads told FOX40.

Eads was one of 10 local TSA employees who met with Gov. Newsom Thursday to share what it's like to be pinched by the protracted government shutdown.

"Forty years I've budgeted my money," said Gary Holdsworth. "How do you budget zero? I can't spend zero."

Holdsworth and his wife have worked for the TSA for 15 and 17 years respectively.

"I had an officer tell me the other day he's going to sleep in his car 'cause he can't put gas in his car but he has to keep working," Holdsworth said.

Newsom has already authorized the state to pay unemployment to the workers even though that goes against federal rules.

He revealed the Department of Labor sent what he sees as a "threatening letter" telling him to stop because he's in the wrong. He says not so and the state's stance is solidly legal.

"Grow up and get your act together. Do your job," the governor directed at Washington.

The state's Employment Development Department already has a huge task helping the normal number of people in need of filing for unemployment insurance. Now, Newsom has challenged them with adding another 245,000 folks to the rolls because of the shutdown.

Thursday, EDD representatives brought out applications and tip sheets to the unpaid TSA workers Newsom spoke to at Sacramento International Airport. Some have had filing problems working with EDD employees who didn't realize the state has made this commitment to help employees not usually eligible for these funds.

If any federal help for these workers does come through in the form of missed back pay, they will have to pay back what's been doled out through unemployment.

The governor says no state surplus dollars will fund this use of unemployment insurance, that the state expects its regular federal reimbursement.

If you're a furloughed federal worker and need to apply just go to EDD.ca.gov and click on the link for federal employees on the top banner.

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