Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization Strike of 1981
November 17th, 2014
The Professional Air Traffic Control (PATCO) strike of 1981 is considered a historical defining point for labor relations in the United States. Approximately 33 years ago PATCO went on strike due to a dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This strike resulted in 13,000 air traffic controllers refusing to work and President Ronald Reagan firing 11,359 of those controllers. The outcome of this strike set the precedent for later strikes to come and also had long term effects on unions. There are many experts who support Reagan’s decision to fire the controllers, while there are many who denounce Reagan’s decision. In this paper I intend to examine the PATCO strike of 1981 and present the perspectives of the parties involved.
Brief History Before the 1960’s collective bargaining in the public sector failed to keep up with the advancements of the private sector. It was not until 1962, when President Kennedy issued executive order 10988 allowing federal workers to constitute unions…show more content… The FAA witness gave evidence supporting that charged and stressed that the union was primarily seeking higher payer –for example, as much as pilots earned (over $100,000). He added that the union had advised its members that a strike could halt air transportation and that government would be helpless. The FAA’s witness also described the agency’s countermeasures. Personal warnings that future illegal actions would be subject to criminal prosecution, contingency plans for running the air traffic system despite a strike, and efforts through past and proposed expenditures to respond to grievances by modernizing equipment and reducing