By Paul Burton

BOSTON (CBS) – Their job is to protect the passengers in the skies but the partial government shutdown has thousands of air traffic controllers working without pay or furloughed.

Mick Devine, who works at Logan Airport, is one of them. “It puts a lot of strain on the family, so for me personally my wife is also an air traffic control worker at Boston Logan and we now have two paychecks that are not coming in and a new baby at home,” Devine said.

Logan Airport (WBZ-TV)

The federal government partially shut down after lawmakers were unable to reach a budget agreement. Mick says there are 38 air traffic control workers at the Boston Logan Tower.

“They are frustrated and nervous and their morale has taken a hit,” Devine said. There are about 3,000 aviation safety professions who are furloughed at this time. Workers like Mick Devine plan to watch the president address the nation Tuesday night and he hopes to hear one important message. “That he’s going to reopen the government and get us paid,” Devine said.

Mick Devine (WBZ-TV)

Mick says if the shutdown carries on it will lead to flight delays because people will retire early and others will quit their jobs. “We are stripping away layers of safety. It takes five years for an air traffic controller to be fully certified. So the shutdown is going to hit our numbers in the months and years to come,” Devine said.

Travelers feel badly for the air traffic control employees. “My heart goes out to them and they have families and children and who wants to go without a paycheck,” traveler Norman Jay said.

Paul Burton

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