As travel continues to skyrocket across the country, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) anticipates a labor shortage at airports nationwide.
As many as 131 of the country’s largest airports will reportedly experience labor shortages this month and employees are being asked to volunteer to help monitor checkpoints, the acting head of the TSA said in a memo as reported by the Washington Post.
Volunteers are needed to work for more than a month (up to 45 days) aiding in customer service tasks and management, Darby LaJoye, the acting TSA administrator, wrote in the memo obtained by the Washington Post.
"With this increase in volume, TSA must maintain operational readiness and ensure that the screening workforce is available to perform screening functions," LaJoye wrote in the memo.
It’s not surprising considering travel is reaching record highs. The TSA screened 1.98 million people Sunday, the busiest travel day since before the pandemic.
There have been 3,100 new employees enlisted by the TSA and the agency hopes to recruit another 3,000 by the end of the summer.
"The Transportation Security Administration is well-positioned to meet rising traveler volumes. As in years before, the agency began a concerted recruitment effort this past winter in anticipation of increasing volumes and is on pace with established benchmarks to meet hiring goals," a spokesperson for the TSA said in a statement. "The agency continues to leverage established, creative recruitment strategies to meet personnel needs, including nationwide recruitment incentives and targeted retention incentives in strategic markets."
Those incentives include giving new employees $1,000 when they apply and accept employment.
Airlines are also asking staffers to work on a volunteer basis. American Airlines recently asked its non-union employees to help staffers at Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport to help travelers at international terminals, among other tasks. Delta in May also asked its staffers to volunteer to take on additional work shifts with no extra pay out of Atlanta, Bloomberg reported.