'We're trying our best:' Oakland TSA workers show up despite $0 pay stubs as shutdown drags on

Federal employees in the Bay Area are feeling the pinch of the shutdown by not receiving their paychecks.

TSA workers and air traffic controllers did not get paid on Friday, but they still showed up for work at Oakland International Airport.

“We’re just coming to work, working hard for passengers who are flying,” Leon Garcia, a TSA worker, said. “We’re trying our best.”

Another TSA worker who did not want to be identified said she is struggling to pay rent. She said she has money saved in one bank account, but 14 cents in another account where her paycheck was supposed to be deposited to.

“I can’t make rent,” she said. “My mom is actually having to pay the whole rent.”

All told, an estimated 800,000 government workers missed their paychecks for the first time since the shutdown began.

Employees posted pictures of the pay statements on Twitter and vented their frustration as the standoff over President Donald Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall entered its 21st day. This weekend, it will become the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

Kristin Simms, local President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at Oakland Tower, said the safety of departures and arrivals is a top priority even though staffing is already down.

“Staffing for air traffic control is at a 30-year low,” she said. “We love what we do. Planes aren't going to stop flying. People need to get to from point A to point B and we signed up for a job. We just expect to get compensated for that job.”

The missed paychecks were just one sign of the mounting toll the shutdown is taking on Americans' daily lives. The Miami airport is closing a terminal this weekend because security screeners have been calling in sick at twice the normal rate. Homebuyers are experiencing delays in getting their loans.

Roughly 420,000 federal employees were deemed essential and are working unpaid. An additional 380,000 are staying home without pay. While furloughed federal workers have been given back pay in previous shutdowns, there is no guarantee that will happen this time. 

Economists at S&P Global said the shutdown has cost the U.S. economy $3.6 billion so far. 

The typical federal employee makes $37 an hour, which translates into $1,480 a week, according to Labor Department data. That's nearly $1.2 billion in lost pay each week, when multiplied by 800,000 federal workers.

Many workers live paycheck to paycheck, despite the strong economy and the ultra-low unemployment rate. A Federal Reserve survey in May found that 40 percent of Americans would have to borrow or sell something to make a $400 emergency payment. 

An NPR poll released Friday shows 74 percent of Americans believe the government shutdown is embarrassing for the country and they feel frustrated or angry toward the federal government.

While the shutdown lingers on, TSA agents like Garcia said they are receiving support from other airport staffers and passengers.

“It's kind of nice that every so often we're getting praise from passengers daily saying, 'thank you for coming in,’” Garcia said.

A spokeswoman for Oakland International Airport said it hosted an all-day appreciation event for federal employees on Friday to recognize their work during the shutdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.