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View Diary: First diary: A cautionary tale - 30 years ago today... (98 comments)

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  •  Uh, yeah, I did mention that... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    here4tehbeer, worldlotus

    It was sort of one of the main points of the whole story.

    You should read the whole diary. You might enjoy it.

    But thanks for including more of Ronnie's shenanigans. Maybe if a few more of those inconvenient facts were publicized we wouldn't have to listen to the constant worshipful blather about one of the stupidest presidents ever. Well, until GW came along...

    •  I am not saying you didn't call PATCO naive (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't read anywhere in the diary the context of PATCO standing virtually alone among unions in its support of Reagan.

      In that context, PATCO's endorsement was not just naive, it was a folly, as defined by historian Barbara Tuchman:

      1.  The action must have been perceived as wrong in its own time.  Check.  Virtually every other union opposed Reagan.  Not to mention that, for all his high words about unions, Reagan had persisitently stated that public unions had no right to strike.  I was born and raised in California, and no serious person truly believed that Reagan was anything other than anti-union.

      2.  A feasible alternative course of action must have been available.  Check.  PATCO could have chosen to not endorse Reagan.

      3.  The decision had to have been that of a group, not an individual, and had to persist beyond one lifetime.  Half-check.  The union made a collective decision to support Reagan.  The decision may not have persisted beyond one lifetime, but the effect specifically on PATCO members and , ultimately on all union members has certainly persisted beyond one lifetime.

      You have provided a narrative of the naive decision made by PATCO, but haven't provided the context.  That's all I'm saying.

      I actually like the diary.

      Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

      by aravir on Thu Aug 04, 2011 at 09:40:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Promises were made, we believed them. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, worldlotus

        Believe me, I'm a life-long Democrat. I was not happy about my union supporting Ronnie. And it cost us dearly because we were foolish enough to think that we would be repaid for our support. It was a political decision, pure and simple.

        Our union decided to endorse Reagan because Jimmy Carter (a thoroughly decent man, I think) could not or would not force the FAA to negotiate a new contract with us. The FAA drew a line in the sand and simply said they didn't want to negotiate. This was prior to the summer of 1980. Contract "negotiations" were going on for months before that with absolutely nothing to show for it.

        Reagan's people did not tell us that we could strike if we supported them. They told us that if Ronnie won they would listen to our safety concerns and negotiate a new contract with us. That seemed a reasonable quid pro quo. But after the election, there were still no meaningful negotiations by the FAA.

        If you have an administration that won't negotiate with you and then a challenger says "Oh my god, you people have a very important job and those incumbent bastards are ignoring you. We'll  throw those bums out at the FAA when we get elected and make sure that your concerns are listened to...", who would you listen to? Why not take a chance that the new guy will actually listen to you?

        I really don't think that Reagan's people were thinking that far ahead (let them strike, then fire them) when they talked with our leaders and gave their assurances. They just desperately wanted to get as much of the "union vote" as they could. After the election, Ronnie's advisors would have advised firing any federal workers who decided to go on strike. We had then been working without a contract for over a year. The FAA declared our contract null and void. What choice did we have? Submit?

        So it wasn't exactly folly or naivete. It's nice to pigeonhole stuff, but real life can't always be described in a word or two. We were just trying to get a contract. We tried every avenue available to us and when they didn't work, we went on strike.

        My personal thought was "I'm not doing this job anymore under these conditions." That is what a strike is, a refusal to perform work under conditions you don't agree to.

        It seemed to me that the diary was pretty long. I opted to leave some of the story out. I could go on and on and on about the ex-military facets of working in the FAA. I could go on and on and on about the struggle that women faced in the FAA. There were a lot of problems in that agency. And there still are many problems as far as I can see from the outside.

        Thanks for clarifying that point.

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