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Most politically astute and knowledgeable people remember that it was President Ronald Reagan who began the assault on our unions by taking on the Professional Air Traffic Controllers union (PATCO).  By refusing to negotiate with the union regarding pay and working conditions, and hiring replacements (i.e., scabs) to take their jobs, he set the stage for the ongoing eradication of unions and the working middle class. As The New York Times noted in 2011:

More than any other labor dispute of the past three decades, Reagan’s confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or Patco, undermined the bargaining power of American workers and their labor unions. It also polarized our politics in ways that prevent us from addressing the root of our economic troubles: the continuing stagnation of incomes despite rising corporate profits and worker productivity.

By firing those who refused to heed his warning, and breaking their union, Reagan took a considerable risk. Even his closest advisers worried that a major air disaster might result from the wholesale replacement of striking controllers. Air travel was significantly curtailed, and it took several years and billions of dollars (much more than Patco had demanded) to return the system to its pre-strike levels. [...]

By 2010, the number of workers participating in walkouts was less than 2 percent of what it had been when Reagan led the actors’ strike in 1952. Lacking the leverage that strikes once provided, unions have been unable to pressure employers to increase wages as productivity rises. Inequality has ballooned to a level not seen since Reagan’s boyhood in the 1920s.

This event was and is rightfully considered a watershed moment in the Republican Party's attempts to destroy unions and the union movement.  Since Reagan took on PATCO, unions have seen their membership number decline precipitously, and most working class Americans have seen their wages and salaries stagnant, even as the individuals (CEO's, Senior executives, and people like Mitt Romney and his former firm Bain Capital) who control major corporations and industries have seen their pay and income soar to levels once though unimaginable.

What many may not know, however, is that Ronald Reagan in the last days of the 1980 election campaign, sent a letter to the President of PATCO, Robert E. Poli, promising he understood the many numerous concerns air traffic controller had with their pay, outmoded equipment and working conditions.  Specifically, he promised to provide them with the most up-to-date equipment and to work with them to provide more staffing and less brutal work schedules in the interest of public safety.  Here's a image of Reagan's letter to Pioli, dated October 20, 1980:

For those having difficulty reading the content of that letter from the image, here is a transcription of the text in full:

Dear Mr. Poli:

I have been briefed by members of my staff as to the deplorable state of our nation's air traffic control system.  They have told me that too few people working unreasonable hours with obsolete equipment has placed the nation's air travelers in unwarranted danger.  In an area so clearly related to public policy the Carter administration has failed to act responsibly.

You can rest assured that if I am elected president, I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.

As in all other areas of the federal government where the President has the power to appoint, I fully intend to appoint highly qualified individuals who can work harmoniously with Congress and the employees of the governmental agencies they oversee.

I pledge to you that my administration will work very closely with you to bring about a spirit of cooperation between the president and the air traffic controllers.  Such harmony can and must exist of we are to restore the people's confidence in their government.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan

Based in part on this this letter Poli and other senior PATCO officials had PATCO endorse Reagan for President.  PATCO was one of only four AFL-CIO affiliated unions to endorse Reagan over Carter.
[N]ewly elected PATCO president Robert Poli—who’d succeeded the more irenic incumbent John Leyden in a surprise insurgent challenge—was keen to demonstrate his clout before the union’s restive rank and file. He presumed to be bargaining from a position of strength because during the run-up to contract negotiations, PATCO had sought to secure firm Washington backing with another surprise move: it endorsed Reagan in the 1980 election, partly as a matter of heeding the shifting national mood, and partly out of sheer exasperation with the Carter administration’s handling of key controller concerns.

Never has a Union leader made a more serious mistake in judgment.  The Reagan appointed head of the FAA failed to negotiate in goof faith, reacting to PATCO's demand for pay raises, improved equipment and less arduous working hours with a counteroffer equal to approximately 1/7 of the cost of the union's offer.  Poli accepted the offer, but did so with little enthusiasm.  Reagan had doubled crossed him and put his position with PATCO's membership at risk. The administration's hard line only encouraged those at PATCO to strike, which was Reagan's goal all along.  

He immediately invoked the Taft-Hartley act and fired all the striking air controllers on August 5, 1981, a total exceeding 11,000.  Reagan then hired 5.500 scabs as the FAA head, Drew Lewis claimed that there had been a "surplus of controllers."  The FAA also reduced flights by 25% and also brought in 370 military controllers.  Though the FAA promised to have staffing levels up to pre-1981 levels within two years, in fact it took almost a decade before those levels were again achieved.  This was due partly to Reagan's ban on rehiring any of the fired PATCO controllers.  

Reagan never had any intention of working with the union.  This can be best demonstrated by the fact that in February, the Reagan Department of Justice, aided by the FAA, had complied a list of air traffic controllers to arrested and prosecuted in the event of a strike.  One Federal District Judge in Denver threw out all the criminal indictments against local PATCO officials, labeling the Reagan DOJ's actions as creating a "hit list" at a time when the government was supposed to be negotiating with the union in "good faith."

Today, of course, the Republican candidates feel free to openly demonize unions and seek to destroy the right to collectively bargain.  We've seen the actions of Republican governors elected in 2010 as proof of that.  The nation's political landscape is vastly changed by what Reagan accomplished in his showdown with PATCO.  Reagan gambled that he could get away with his lies back then, and he succeeded.  Now Republicans can lie on a daily basis and no one in the media even bothers to check the claims they make, the numerous falsehoods and prevarications they promulgate.  Now the unions are shrinking, and they more often than not refuse to strike our of fear.  Now Democrats govern as 1990's era Republicans, catering far to often to the wealthy elites and multinational corporations and failing to support unions.

And it all started with Ronnie Reagan's sweet little lie to the air traffic controllers.  He wasn't concerned about the safety of air travel.  He wasn't willing to work with PATCO to improve working conditions or modernize our air traffic control system.  He wanted an easy target to make the case that unions are bad for America, and he hoodwinked PATCO into believing he would act honorably and treat them fairly.  He lied, and we have been paying the price for it ever since.

Originally posted to Steven D on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kossack Air Force and In Support of Labor and Unions.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (148+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe, Horace Boothroyd III, Dood Abides, Egalitare, Mnemosyne, hazzcon, Mother Mags, wayoutinthestix, hillbrook green, Polly Syllabic, marzook, jan4insight, PBen, vacantlook, jwinIL14, opinionated, shopkeeper, LNK, M Sullivan, confitesprit, Azazello, TracieLynn, phonegery, white blitz, blue aardvark, xanthippe2, radical simplicity, alguien, fumie, eve, Dr Colossus, anodnhajo, rogerdaddy, Box of Rain, Temmoku, Joieau, luckydog, Avila, madhaus, heyday, martini, jo fish, buckstop, blue jersey mom, luckylizard, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, banjolele, ParkRanger, JeffW, greenbird, Justus, hoof32, ExStr8, Ed in Montana, twcollier, spunhard, pixxer, MartyM, Bridge Master, Its any one guess, RFK Lives, MKHector, klompendanser, fiddler crabby, muddy boots, Dem Beans, Bluesee, expatjourno, Gowrie Gal, Emerson, Bill Roberts, Sean Robertson, tommymet, Shockwave, MKinTN, Hopeful Monster, OLinda, DRo, marleycat, kakumeiji maru, Lefty Coaster, weck, darlalalala, sodalis, lotlizard, uciguy30, OMwordTHRUdaFOG, kerflooey, admiralh, linkage, Lily O Lady, slowbutsure, Matt Z, Tinfoil Hat, Mogolori, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, jem6x, a2nite, The Hindsight Times, profundo, Alumbrados, Mentatmark, greycat, happymisanthropy, dougymi, Miss Jones, markdd, cordgrass, trumpeter, rapala, outragedinSF, TexDem, Simplify, Crashing Vor, ask, TechBob, Captain Chaos, Gilmore, lunachickie, subtropolis, pickandshovel, Chi, Bob Duck, Ralphdog, divineorder, Panacea Paola, countwebb, NYFM, Missys Brother, Bernie68, xaxnar, Dirtandiron, Texknight, weatherdude, maggiejean, sostos, blueoasis, psnyder, Larsstephens, Marihilda, bnasley, stormicats, kissfan, SlightKC, RebeccaG, joynow, FrY10cK, freeport beach PA

    "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

    by Steven D on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:39:35 AM PDT

  •  One of the biggest travesties in aviation (71+ / 0-)

    was when they changed the name of Washington National Airport to name it after Ronnie Raygun.  

    I have refused to use that damn airport since then.

    The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand. - Sun Tzu

    by Otteray Scribe on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:45:09 AM PDT

  •  Police and Firefighters .. Minimum wage...rise up! (17+ / 0-)

    Dudehisattva...

    "Generosity, Ethics, Patience, Effort, Concentration, and Wisdom"

    by Dood Abides on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:45:39 AM PDT

    •  Parallel track of Unions and Middle Class (5+ / 0-)

      The growth and prosperity of America's middle class perfectly parallels the gorwth and decline of America's labor unions.

      Membership in labor unions grew during the first half of the 20th century, cresting in the late 70's and early 80's.  As did the size and prosperity of America's middle class.  

      Since in late 70's, membership in labor unions has declined precipitously, due to changes in the job market, off-shoring of manufacturing jobs, an anti-union political climate, and more recently, changes in labor laws.  

      And during this same period, the wealth of America's middle class has declined as well.  Funny that!

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:04:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Would that be a correlation? n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dood Abides

        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

        by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:09:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Parallel track of Dems and unions (8+ / 0-)

        Only period of Dem dominance since 1860 (roughly mid-30s to mid-70s) also happens to have been period of labor's greatest strength.  It's not a coincidence.  Labor has provided essential shoe leather for GOTV efforts since FDR's time.

        Interesting little factoid in today's NYT:

        The presence of the United Mine Workers of America helped stymie such tactics. But now, with a mere 25 percent of miners belonging to the union, the allegiance of miners has largely shifted to the coal companies. The old divide-and-conquer strategy is back
        WV was one of only 6 states Carter carried in 1980.  In more recent years, it has become a thoroughly red state.  Timing of UMW decline and Dem decline in WV isn't a coincidence, either.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:15:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Slightly more complicated (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Steven D, blueoasis

          As union memberships shrinks, then unions will be less influencial and less important to the democratic party.

          And as the democratic party abandons union issues to better curry favor and campaign contributions from the wealthy and corporate interests, union memebers lose interest in the democratic party.

          Recent changes in the American economy and in labor laws could well do away with unions all together.  The democratic party is unlikely to go away: the democratic party can always get money by prostituting itself to another rich person.  

          Unions only work because of the collective efforts of its members: unions cannot abandon its members the way the democratic party has abandoned its middle class voters.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:28:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This seems like a good opportunity to take a large (40+ / 0-)

    bow for having urinated on the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan in Dixon, IL. while he was in the White House. In broad daylight. Don't mention it.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:51:37 AM PDT

  •  Excellent reminder and analysis - escpecially (23+ / 0-)

    your closing argument that Reagan never intended to do the good things he implied. This is a large part of the RW/GOP/TP standard bag tricks - bait and switch, most recently pulled with the "jobs" mantra.

    It saddens and infuriates me that the American public continues to fall for the GOP bait & switch tactics. Even many on the left continue to act surprised by it.

    I thank you for pointing this out so clearly. T&R'd, FB'ed, Tweeted :)

  •  HELP! Dear Diarist and Commenters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, martini

    I have weak eyesight.

    I was hoping the first sentence would be what that sweet lie was.

    Can somebody give it to me in K.I.S.S. bullet points?
    Maybe even bold font.

    thank you.

    •  easy (6+ / 0-)

      He told the air controllers before the  election he would work with them on safety and working conditions and pay issues

      They endorsed Reagan because of the pledge he made.

      He negotiated in bad faith to force them to strike

      When they went on strike he fired them all

      In short: He double-crossed them.

      "If you tell the truth, you'll eventually be found out." Mark Twain

      by Steven D on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:36:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The sweet lie (7+ / 0-)

      was that Reagan promised to support PATCO's positions in return for their endorsement. His letter was presented to PATCO leaders as a quid pro quo

      Dear Mr. Poli:

      I have been briefed by members of my staff as to the deplorable state of our nation's air traffic control system.  They have told me that too few people working unreasonable hours with obsolete equipment has placed the nation's air travelers in unwarranted danger.  In an area so clearly related to public policy the Carter administration has failed to act responsibly.

      You can rest assured that if I am elected president, I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety.

      As in all other areas of the federal government where the President has the power to appoint, I fully intend to appoint highly qualified individuals who can work harmoniously with Congress and the employees of the governmental agencies they oversee.

      I pledge to you that my administration will work very closely with you to bring about a spirit of cooperation between the president and the air traffic controllers.  Such harmony can and must exist of we are to restore the people's confidence in their government.

      Sincerely,

      Ronald Reagan

      OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

      by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:36:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Reagan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D, JeffW, Dirtandiron

      promised the head of air traffic control, Poli, that Reagan would help controllers with equipment, resources, support.

      Instead, he low balled the offers to controllers, they got riled up, he then punked them.  We've been suffering ever since.

      At least, that's how I read it.

  •  This is the killer portion of your diary (25+ / 0-)
    Air travel was significantly curtailed, and it took several years and billions of dollars (much more than Patco had demanded) to return the system to its pre-strike levels.
    I've sat at several negotiation tables and figured out that the "savings" realized by management in settling were matched by or in a few cases eclipsed by the expenses in using some "outside hired gun" to do the negotiating.

    I know of at least one instance (at a table I didn't sit at) where a School Board member insisted on being a non participant observer for a handful of sessions because he sensed that the negotiation was going on far longer than expected. He was appalled that his teachers were being "low-balled" in a way that far exceeded the parameters of settlement the entire Board had created rough consensus around, talked the Board into  dismissing the outside negotiator, then had the in-house head of HR finish the talks. The contract was completed less than a month later, the teachers got an acceptable raise and the board was well within what they felt was sustainable.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:11:33 PM PDT

  •  i always wondered how dumb these republicans (6+ / 0-)

    had to be to risk the wild west approach to air travel rather than pay these necessary sky monitors what they needed to do a good job, etc.

    i remember a phone campaign back then to support ATCs.
    and never understood why Reagan hounded these guys.

    it's mind boggling.

    Thanks for your diary.

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:16:34 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the shout out to PATCO. (25+ / 0-)

    I would quibble with a couple of inferences from the article. From my perspective as a PATCO Local President at the time of the strike, the Union endorsed Reagan SOLELY on the basis of the total and abject failure of the Carter Administration to respond in any way whatsoever to the building crisis within the ranks of the working controllers. The endorsement was, in fact, meant to be a repudiation of the Carter Administration. When Reagan wrote that letter to Poli, it was viewed as icing on the cake. Although there were certainly many Republicans in PATCO, it is certainly true that there were many air traffic controllers who did NOT belong to PATCO simply because they were Republicans and opposed to unions in general. These people were the lucky core of the air traffic system after the strike - lucky because they managed to avoid getting two large airplanes together and also lucky in the fact that mandatory overtime enriched their pockets beyond anything imagined by PATCO. And when they balked at further overtime, they got pay raises, far greater again than the PATCO demands, to prevent further job actions and resignations. I am still waiting for a thank you note, scabs.

    It is very common to blame Mr. Poli for making bad decisions, but in fact I was at meetings during the Spring and Summer of 1981 in which Mr. Poli and other leaders attempted to tamp down expectations that a strike would be successful and presented proposals to stay on bargaining; proposals that were angrily rejected by Union representatives. The prevailing view was that either ALL strikers would be fired or NONE would be fired. This turned out to be true, but not in way that most in PATCO believed.

    By the way, there were abundant statements made by the Reagan Administration officials that they expected less than 10% of the strikers to ignore the deadline to return to work. The final number was greater than 80% - slight miscalculation there - one of many on both sides.

    Mr. Poli acted in the way that a vast majority of the controller workforce directed him to act. While it is true that he took office on a vow to be more aggressive than his predecessor, that vow consisted mainly of strengthening union communications and organization, on the reasoning that a united union could press their demands successfully.

    Unfortunately, PATCO's strike was ignored by the petulant assholes at ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association) - who have suffered much greater losses as a result of their disdain for air traffic controllers in general even though PATCO and ALPA would have made formidable partners. And it was fought furiously by the airlines themselves who wanted to teach their own unions "a lesson"; the airlines were decimated by having to support the actual cost of an air traffic system that had to endure traffic quotas and system snafus for over a decade. It was also ignored by any number of other union members who crossed the picket lines because they figured those high-falutin' air traffic controllers weren't really a "real" Union.

    Other than that, nice summary of the events.

    OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

    by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:32:00 PM PDT

    •  Let us always remember that union (12+ / 0-)

      pilots crossed the picket line. And that the pilots union has never been sympathetic to the flight attendants union either. Many trades unions do not respect public worker unions or retail unions.

      Unions are not going to regain strength until unions learn the forgotten lesson of solidarity.

      •  PATCO and the flight attendants (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify

        While it is true that the flight attendants did cross the picket line, they were also supportive in many ways, furnishing verbal support and aid, and sometimes walking the line.

        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

        by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:25:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Is that why the IWW / the Wobblies were destroyed? (0+ / 0-)

        "One big union"? One big international / multinational / transnational union?

        Oh, no, thought the people we now call "the 1%"; we can't allow that to become the successful model.

        Capital must be able to flow unchecked across borders. But labor? Never!

        Capital must be allowed to build all manner of powerful transnational organizations and structures. But labor? Never!

        Workers must be led to think that it's natural for them to be divided by country, by trade, by industry — that, indeed, it would be unthinkable not to be divided (and pitted against each other) that way.

        The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

        by lotlizard on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:47:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Which trades unions? Where? (0+ / 0-)
        Many trades unions do not respect public worker unions or retail unions.
        Please be specific.

        Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

        by Dirtandiron on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:58:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  My brother is in the painters union and (0+ / 0-)

          the operators union and he tells me that Walmart employees do not deserve a union. Nor do public sector workers and teachers. The carpenters union splilt off from the AFL-CIO years ago because of disagreements about politics. Now on the other hand the UBEW and its members are great allies for all labor and very generous.

          I certainly did not mean to imply all tradesmen and did not say so. I said many. And if you look at the endorsements from the operators unions in local races many times they endorse right wing republicans.

          Many union members fail to honor boycotts even within their own industry. My wife was a grocery worker and a member of the UFCW and her fellow UFCW workers happily shopped at Walmart even though Walmart was a competitor the their union shop employer. And this was in Illinois, which is a closed shop state.

          •  Not everyone who has a union membership is (0+ / 0-)

            a good member. Some people are members the way Blue Dogs are Democratic. The Carpenters split was not over politics. It was over jurisdiction.

            Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

            by Dirtandiron on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:29:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But that is the point isn't it. When you have (0+ / 0-)

              union members who resent the union and the activities of the union then the union has got a real problem. When more than 10% of union families vote for the union buster you have a problem of needing to educate the union membership.

              This is like Blue Dogs voting for the Republican leadership slate to run the House and Senate.

            •  How many times have unions endorsed Republicans (0+ / 0-)

              in local and national races? PATCO endorsed Reagan and then found out the true meaning of loyalty. Operator unions have been endorsing local Republicans in races for decades.

    •  Thanks for that recounting of events (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rhauenstein, Simplify

      from an insider's perspective.

      I always wondered what the reasoning was behind the strikers not returning to work.  They really thought Reagan was bluffing?

      •  Reagan or his idiots screwed up. (7+ / 0-)

        PATCO strikers were given 48 hours to return to work. We were convinced that legally the government could only do one of two things if we didn't return: fire everyone or fire no one.

        We had 4 out of 5 ATC's across the country sequestered at Union Local Offices and all controllers stayed there to avoid arrest between shifts of walking the line. Quite a few controllers, mostly local officials, were arrested. As controllers we knew that the cost of firing 4 out of 5 controllers would cripple the air industry. And it did. Did we think that Reagan and his advisors were stupid enough to cripple the air industry for a decade or more? No.

        Reagan's idiots convinced him (or maybe just themselves - see my comment about Reagan's mental state elsewhere in the thread) that there were about 900-1000 "firebrands" who would stay out beyond 48 hours, that all the others would come back in less than 48 hours, and that the system could easily function with that level of lost ATC's.

        As it turns out, they were wrong. The level of anger among the ATC's was quite sufficient to keep them out beyond 48 hours - to the tune of 11,345 more or less... more than 10 times the estimate of the Reagan stooges in the White House. When the airlines and other related industries realized the ginormous impact that losing 80% of the controller workforce would have on their profits, they practically begged the administration to at least let some of the ATC's come back. But the administration knew right from the start that legally if they let even one ATC come back, they had to let all of the ATC's back. They had already made their decision and couldn't bear the thought of losing face - no matter how much it cost the airlines and the whole US economy.

        [Remember, these are the same traitors that negotiated with Iran, an enemy of the United States holding 52 American hostages, to KEEP those hostages in Iran until after the election, knowing full well that if the Carter Administration had achieved their release BEFORE the election of 1980, they might have won the election.]

        If he had said 5 days or one or two weeks, it might have been an entirely different matter.

        There isn't enough room here to catalog all the reasons that we were fed up. I would suggest Collision Course, by Joseph A. McCartin. He gets it mostly right.

        As for me, I had had enough of the FAA "management". Either things were going to change or I was done with the FAA. There were many more just like me.

        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

        by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:55:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was hired April '82 (0+ / 0-)

      worked two years at a center, some sh*t happened between controllers, I was a "trainee" and ... it's a long story.  Ended up in Flight Service, retired 7 years ago (CSRS) and work for Lockheed Martin now.  Pilot Briefing.

      My recollection is that if the union had made their arguments strictly about SAFETY, they would have been given everything they asked for - including the 32hr four day work week.  

      However, I recall they also wanted a significant pay raise.  So instead of the primary issue of the strike being SAFETY, the deal breaker was MONEY - big payday for FPL's.

      •  April of '82? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hillbrook green, NYFM, Dirtandiron

        That makes you a permanent replacement.

        •  Actually (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Powell, Gilmore, NYFM, Dirtandiron

          there is another name that is not quite as polite but, spoken as one who was there, by April of '82 the strike was long over with for all intents and purposes....

          except for 11.345 controllers and their families and friends....

          and of course the US economy...

          and the airlines....

          OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

          by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:17:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was there too, and proud of it. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hillbrook green, Gilmore, Dirtandiron

            It would take a careful review of application, interview, hire, and class dates to determine exactly the correct word to use.

            I know the word I'd have used in the spring of '82, technically correct or not.

            I haven't forgotten, and I don't let politeness get in the way of bringing it up.

      •  Safety and pay. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        exatc, Simplify, Steven D, Dirtandiron, joynow

        There was never an offer that addressed the safety issues. There was never an offer that addressed working hours and conditions.

        In retrospect, safety and pay should have been addressed separately. We lost public sentiment over the pay raise.

        However, the issue never turned on public sentiment. It turned on a desire by the airlines and the administration to "teach a lesson" to the unions. Pure and simple. And it is clear from a variety of sources that the Reagan Administration had no intention of negotiating with PATCO, which was the same position as the Carter Administration.

        You know the old saw about "a rock and a hard place"?

        So the "scuttlebutt" in the big room was just a bunch of overworked chicken-shit controllers rationalizing the pitiful state of affairs after we all got fired - "Well, we've got to put up with all this shit because those damn PATCO guys got greedy." I've read the accounts of the backbiting and finger-pointing and recriminations that went on in all the facilities after the strike. Must have been a wonderful place to work. Too bad you didn't have a strong union to stand up for you when the shit hit your fan.

        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

        by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:10:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Reagan was a giant douche (12+ / 0-)

    which is exactly why the righties still idolize him. If they could, they'd reanimate his ass and run zombie Reagan instead of Mittens.  Art Laffer (his economics advisor and father of "trickle down" economics) was recently sued for running a ponzi scheme, think that's a coincidence?  :D

    ~War is Peace~Freedom is Slavery~Ignorance is Strength~ George Orwell "1984"

    by Kristina40 on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:38:27 PM PDT

  •  gracias, Steven (7+ / 0-)

    excellent reminder of Reagan's duplicity and contempt for working people and their safety.  

  •  I read "Collision Course" recently (8+ / 0-)

    Very informative. The bad thing is, governors like Scott Walker are to the right of Reagan on worker's rights.

    I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me.

    by plankbob on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 12:41:36 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, I don't know. (6+ / 0-)

      Actually I am torn between believing that Reagan was an asshole who hated unions even though he was once president of the Screen Actors Guild and believing that he was already in the throes of Alzheimer's and other dementia issues at the time of the PATCO strike.

      As a member of PATCO, I have long felt that Reagan and the people in his administration were a bunch of liars, corporate assholes, and idiots. So that would make him and his buddies just as bad as Scott Walker.

      On the other hand, Reagan was nearly killed by John Hinckley Jr on March 30, 1981 - he was 70 years old - 5 months before the PATCO strike. He was described as "close to death" on the operating table. I have a hard time believing that he was in total command of his administration less than five months after his near-assassination. As a matter of fact, I don't believe he ever got back in control of his administration (Iran-Contra affair) or even that he ever was in command (the treasonous pre-election contacts with Iran to delay the release of the Iran hostages).

      Either way, I suppose it is fair to say that I despise him and his cohorts. But I am not so sure that Scott Walker and his buddies are much different.

      OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

      by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:06:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have long thought Reagan was an empty suit. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hillbrook green, NYFM

        When you look at the many evil geniuses in the Reagan cabal, and how woefully Ronnie was overmatched by even such a lesser light as Ed Meese, it's no wonder guys like Ollie North and Lee Atwater were pulling his strings; I think they were making Ronnie the Puppet dance the whole time, just by whispering what he wanted to hear in his ear. I really doubt that he had the intellectual horsepower to pull off all the underhanded, dirty, illegal tricks of his administration based on what hatched in his simple, feeble mind. He must have had plenty of help..

        Your black cards can make you money, so you hide them when you're able; in the land of milk and honey, you must put them on the table - Steely Dan

        by OrdinaryIowan on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:50:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I read Collision Course, too (4+ / 0-)

      Outstanding book.  Here's the link to it.

      The situation was a little more complicated than it would seem.  Actually, the Reagan administration went pretty far in negotiations with government employees, even negotiating salary (which had never been done).  They put a pretty good offer on the table and the PATCO membership voted it down.

      Poli was an unmitigated disaster.

      That all said, FAA made working conditions brutal and I don't blame the controllers for being angry and disgruntled.  Poli did a terrible job selling the contract and wasn't completely upfront about the what consequences of voting it down might be.

      In the book, McCartin ties the PATCO firings to the current sharp decline in household income in a way that's pretty breathtaking and demonstrates the straight line from PATCO to Scott Walker.  It's a great history of an important union that has reverberations today.

      I worked in the airline industry throughout the 80's and 90's and I know how devastating the PATCO strike was to my industry.  What's surprising is how little I really knew about it, as the media was intent on demonizing PATCO and there was a lot more than met the eye.

      you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

      by Dem Beans on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:26:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, but you are wrong. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gilmore, NYFM

        I was there in the meetings between Poli and the membership representatives. McCartin wrote a good book, but he wasn't there either.

        Poli did what the controllers directed him to do. He was very direct about the possible consequences - probably too direct in the case of the June meetings.

        Unfortunately, none of us believed that Reagan and his cohorts would be stupid enough to handle the situation the way they did.

        Poli was the fall guy, but he was not an "unmitigated disaster".

        The "unmitigated disaster" was the people in the White House who reneged on promises and previous negotiations because they didn't believe that PATCO was a real union and that the members of PATCO were afraid to go on strike.

        As it turns out, they were wrong.

        OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

        by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:33:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sweet little lies (4+ / 0-)

    That's the Repub party platform even before Reagan.

  •  Reagan screwed us all (9+ / 0-)

    In my younger days I didn't connect the dots. I worked as a white collar professional in the financial services industry, what did the problems of unionized air traffic controllers have to do with me?
    But looking back at it now, it was shortly after the air traffice controller's firing that corporate America took notice and went to school on what Reagan had done.
    One of the business people whose applications I supported told me one day of the seminars he had been attending, that a new hard line was being taken by management towards workers, and that he would hate to be a younger person such as me starting out in the private sector, because things were going to change and not for the better.
    How prophetic that became as we have watched the income and power of ordinary Americans stagnate and wither while worker productivity, corporate profits and the wealth and income of those at the top has soared.
    Thanks, Ronny. You shouldn't even have an airplane toilet seat named after you.

    Blue is blue and must be that. But yellow is none the worse for it - Edith Sidebottom

    by kenwards on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:16:27 PM PDT

    •  hmmm... like that "bait and switch" i got: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D

      good job, granted, but LONG probation/break-in period with no benefits... then, when period approached end, and benefits would be mine, all mine... uh, we have to reduce your hours. sorry. 25% sorry.

      both were killers i NEVER recovered from.
      best was a 4-year job '98-02 that got "downsized."
      (got the bennie, converted the 401k stat.)
      next best was a 4-year job '04-'08 i had to bail on, for stress (migraines, among others). BAD IDEA. but had a hazy crystal ball. THOROUGHLY enjoyed the election, tho, and the inauguration, and the 'perfectness' of it all. AND enjoyed converting mom.

      this year i wanna convert EVERYBODY.

      yesterday i watched a Papa Gino's delivery lady, driving her own car, and counted to 10 before i cried. ;)

      Thanks, Ronny. You shouldn't even have an airplane toilet seat named after you.

      Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.
      * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM *

      by greenbird on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:32:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I always believed he was evil; im still right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Steven D

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:38:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Secondary Boycott, Secondary Boycott (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TimmyB

    My kingdom for the secondary boycott!

  •  Reagan lied and PATCO got what they deserved... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TimmyB, lotlizard, Ammo Hauler

    ...for endorsing him. I have zero sympathy for people who support Republicans. Zero. They fully deserve whatever shit befalls them.

    Sucks that Reagan helped weaken unions in general, of course. But unions have not done a very good job of explaining the benefits of unions to the general public. That is THEIR shitty PR, not Reagan's cleverness.

    I know it's a popular viewpoint that the decline of unions is a result of Reagan. Michael Moore has made a big fuss about singing the PATCO blues. But that's an empty excuse as far as I'm concerned.

    It has been more than 20 years since Reagan was president. And more than 30 years since he wasn't senile. Union leaders need to look in the mirror for the reason unions are so  unpopular.

    For example, why IS it that people in Wisconsin would tolerate taking union benefits away from state workers? Why DO they not see that unions have won better working conditions for everyone?

    Not Reagan's fault.

    Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

    by expatjourno on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:21:21 PM PDT

    •  That's easy (5+ / 0-)

      Wages have declined over the past 30 years and now people want to bring union members down to the same hand-to-mouth levels they themselves struggle to survive.  It's pure envy and stupid and shortsighted.  Shortly we'll all be a nation of serfs.

      you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

      by Dem Beans on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:30:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And unions have spent 30 years looking after... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TimmyB, lotlizard, Simplify

        ...the interests their own members and ignoring everyone else's.

        In their short-sightedness, they have not been selling the idea of unions to the non-union general public. They have not been selling the general public on the idea that they too need unions and they, too, benefit from the existence of unions.

        For example, we have overtime and a 40-hour week because of unions. So even though I am not in a union, I know unions have benefited me.

        But, for example, have unions spent 30 years campaigning for universal health care with the same intensity that the NRA campaigns for concealed carry for assault rifles? Or have they spent 30 years just trying to protect health care benefits for their own members?

        We'd have a different attitude towards unions if unions were seen as working for the interests of all working people.

        Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

        by expatjourno on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:43:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  PATCO Endorsed Reagan (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ammo Hauler, expatjourno, Cat Servant

      Why should any Democrat feel sorry for a union that endorses a GOPer, when that very same GOPer fires them when they go on strike?  

      Seems like they got exactly what they deserved.  

    •  That's pretty simplistic. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gilmore, expatjourno, Simplify, NYFM

      Your argument would hold more weight except for the fact that the Carter Administration refused to even negotiate with PATCO.

      So, if I understand you correctly, when a Democratic President tells you to go pound sand, that's perfectly fine and should be accepted.

      I never agreed with my fellow PATCO members who decided to support Reagan, but since the Democrats were treating us like some lower life-form, there was not much else to try.

      It was a gamble and we got screwed twice - once by the Democrats and once by the Republicans. Hard to say which one hurt worse.

      But hey, it's awfully easy to find fault with others, right?

      OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

      by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:38:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There were many, many reasons why not to... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TimmyB

        ...endorse Reagan. Like all the ways he would be shitty for the country and for the world. And, of course, for every other union.

        PATCO said fuck everyone else on the planet, we think we'll get a better deal from Reagan. But don't feel too bad. Following the most narrow, short-term self-interest is pretty much the story of the union movement for the past 30 years. PATCO was not much of an exception.

        Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

        by expatjourno on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 04:35:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          expatjourno

          1) other unions endorsed Reagan. They did it mostly because the Carter Administration was extremely hostile to all unions, not just PATCO. I believe ALPA and the Teamsters endorsed Reagan along with others. It was a repudiation of Carter's anti-union administration, plain and simple.

          2) I believe Reagan crushed Cater by about 10 percentage points. And it can't be blamed on Anderson; he was a former Republican. If you add up all the "Republican" votes, Carter lost by some 16 or 17 percentage points. So PATCO going with Reagan wasn't exactly saying "fuck everyone else on the planet" - only about 40% of the rest of the planet, including a guy, Carter, who basically told all the unions to go screwe themselves.

          3) Reagan had been president of a union. He wooed many union people to his side based on those credentials. The guy and his buddies lied to a whole bunch of people. PATCO was just another patsy and many many PATCO people were very opposed to the Union endorsement.

          Sometimes it's tough to tell who the good guys are and the bad guys are... at least in the present. Of course, it's extremely easy when you have 30 years of hindsight....

          OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

          by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:36:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Teamsters endorsed Nixon. (0+ / 0-)

            Police unions often endorse Republicans. And Kansas votes Republican, despite the fat that it isn't in the interests of Kansas voters (there's a book about that one). PATCO isn't alone in its stupidity.

            As for 2), it was "screw everyone else on the planet" in the sense that PATCO allowed its narrow, short-term interests to guide its decision regardless of the effect of a Reagan presidency on everyone else.

            I cannot stand Obama. Cannot stand him. Tom Junod gave me another reason the other day. But I'm not enough of an idiot to think that Rmoney would be an improvement.

            And as for 3) yes, he had been president of a union. As governor of California, he also signed the most liberal abortion legislation in the country. But he was also a dedicated hippie-puncher, and I can't help wondering how much that influenced PATCO's decision.

            Thank you very much for these comments. It's interesting to hear the perspective of someone who knows more than I do about what PATCO's motivation was. It's also good to be reminded what a shitheel Carter was in his pre-post-presidency days. I couldn't stand him, either. His conservative pandering (Draft registration, anyone? Olympic boycott?) was appalling. And we all know where his Afghanistan policy led.

            But I didn't need hindsight to know that Reagan was the antichrist. As always, it was a choice between the lesser of two evils.

            Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

            by expatjourno on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 11:20:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! Reagan was worse than I thought (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhauenstein, lotlizard, Steven D

    A lying, double-crossing, a%$#hole of THE worst kind.

    I had a long conversation with a California labor leader on Sunday and she reminded me of the PATCO strike as the turning point in union strength.

    But this letter highlights how it was a concerted effort by Reagan and his ilk to crush unions starting with PATCO.

    I am reading Dennis Maker's Fifteen Steps to Corporate Feudalism (How the Rich Convinced America’s Middle Class to Eliminate Themselves
    From Ronald Reagan to the Tea Party Movement) and step 3 is Destroying the Unions.  It started with PATCO alright.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:48:56 PM PDT

  •  I remember being shown that letter... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D

    ...when I was in middle school, shortly after the controllers had been fired. While most of my family were already democrats, my political views were still forming. Seeing that letter solidified my views.

    "Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure."--Charles Darwin

    by Hopeful Monster on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 01:58:04 PM PDT

  •  Ronnie was a real Asshole (5+ / 0-)

    Too many people forgot that, or never learned it and think he's some kind of courageous hero instead.

    "We don't need someone who can think. We need someone with enough digits to hold a pen." ~ Grover Norquist

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 02:13:12 PM PDT

  •  Also a member of the PATCO Class of '81. (7+ / 0-)

    I hate to have to say it, but the current Republican version of conservatism makes me somewhat nostalgic for Reagan.

    Those few of you above who feel that PATCO controllers deserved what they got because their union leadership endorsed Reagan are certainly a self-righteous set.

    I didn't vote for Reagan. I didn't endorse him. I didn't get to vote about my union's endorsement of him. Did I deserve what I got?

    BTW, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Teamsters also threw their support behind Reagan, who had, at least, once been a union leader (of sorts). The Carter administration, and FAA Administrator Langhorne Bond, were a disaster in their own right.

    I went on to leadership positions within the Air Line Pilots Association. I believe in unionism, even though PATCO got the drop-dead brushoff from ALPA.

    Honoring thirty-one years this coming August 3rd. I view living well as the best revenge. To the poster above who pissed on Reagan's childhood home, I owe you a beer -- and another if you'll do the same to DOT Secretary Drew Lewis's ancestral homestead.  ;)

  •  Neighbors (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Steven D, NYFM

    Neighbor across the street has a son who was a fired PATCO member. Next door neighbor is non-PATCO member who crossed the line.

    Interesting block parties. . .

    Netroots Nation: Burning Man for Progressives

    by Gilmore on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 03:46:20 PM PDT

  •  Also Class of '81 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Powell, Simplify, lunachickie, Steven D, NYFM

    And one of the very, very few who were able to recover. Each of us appealed our firing, and in most facilities the appeal was denied and that was the end of it. At ZAU the management morons (sorry for the redundancy) were caught having manipulated the sign in logs and schedules to make the cases for separation.

    Many of the fired accepted their fate and moved on, but a whole lot continued the appeal process. When the record manipulation got into court (not all cases were affected by it) many of us won our appeal and were reinstated—about forty at ZAU and very, very few anywhere else.

    There were several paths for appeal and several appellants used different attorneys than the PATCO group, consequently there wound up being different results, and even in the cases of reinstatement, there were different levels of success, ranging from fully restored with backpay to a negotiated reinstatement with an agreement not to sue for backpay.

    I was out for 20 months, and had thirteen years of experience before my sabbatical. After I returned, I worked another fifteen, so saw both sides of the story. The only thing I missed (and glad I did) was what the FAA did in the interim. Most of the bubblegum and baling wire was gone by the time I got back, but there were still plenty of former washouts who had been recalled and then certified. There were also still a couple of dozen imported guns from other facilities whose reward was an eventual PCS to wherever they wanted to go with "save pay for life" (in other words they got to keep their GS-14 pay grade even if they transferred to a GS-10 facility).

    I have lots of stories, some of them documented on my website below, others which are still boiling in my head and are just waiting for an appropriate venue and restraint.

    Oh, and regarding April '82 hire date—PATCO had declared the strike over in November, I believe, and decertification happened shortly thereafter, as I recall. I was still out at that point (and would continue to be for well over a year more), but several of my co-activists were already being reinstated. We had said all along that our goal was for everyone to get back, but after that Fall, it was never "none of us go back until all of us go back".

    There were plenty of people with whom I never exchanged Christmas cards, but most of them were people who stayed on 4 August '81. For my own sanity, I had to make choices about whom I would accept. May of '83 (the date I got back) was the first threshold (anyone hired thereafter was "okay"), but I had to come to terms, incrementally, with people who were hired before then. By the time I left in '97, there were still plenty of scabs left to despise, but for the most part, even those whose hire date was 3 August '81 I knew had been in largely untenable circumstances and their employment had been in process for some time before that date. It's a reasonable question to ask, "what should they have done?" and even for the very militant (me), it wasn't in my soul to regard them the same as those who'd crossed my line.

    Oh, and touched on by another commenter—as much as the liberal community tends to love Carter, he and his administration laid the groundwork for what drove us out. Not for nothing did we refer to "working in Bondage" as the consequence of his appointment of Langhorn Bond as Administrator. In terms of policy, much of his was as bad as reagan's or his disciples.

    My Poli impressions are probably left to another comment, but I was never as comfortable with him as I was his predecessor, John Leyden.

    I'll hoist one this evening for my fellow brothers in the thread. And Washington National forever.

    •  I appreciate the distinctions you made above ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... regarding "those who'd crossed my line".

      I had to make my own personal attitude adjustments after '81, just so I could manage to talk to ATC on the radio. For a while, I'd have to spit out a few epithets just to get it out of my system BEFORE I hit the push-to-talk switch.

      Eventually, I had to let go of it. It helped tremendously when I learned that Reagan was so decrepit and demented that all he wanted to do was skim leaves from his swimming pool all day -- and the Secret Service guys just dumped the same leaves back in the pool over and over and over.

      Asshole.

      Now I am able to direct my outrage at so many MORE Republicans, and still -- I have plenty of outrage to go around!

  •  Reagans sweet lie and PATCO's stupid bluff (0+ / 0-)

    I personally know a couple of ATC's and although they still dislike Reagan (of course), and claim they are "technically" still on strike - they also acknowledge that they stupidly bought into the union management line that Reagan wouldn't dare fire them.  As one of them put it to me 20 years later - he had one of the best jobs in the world, making about $40K a year about 6 (maybe 8) years out of college and it took him 15-20 years to get back to that level.  Some people seem to forget that the union demands were bordering on outrageous in the public's eye.  Someone correct me if I am mistaken - but didn't the demands include across the board $10K salary increases, 32 hour work week, and 20 years to retirement?  I was about 2 years out of college at  the time and making around $13K. It seemed crazy to me in that context. I worked with teamsters at the time and I remember them even scoffing at these levels of demands.  In addition, didn't these guys have a no-strike contract?   Most of us thought it was over-reach at the time and it was pretty easy for reagan and company to read the public sentiment on this strike. Sadly, this damage to the image of unions was mostly self-inflicted.  

    •  Again, a rather simplistic view (0+ / 0-)

      and a common one.

      First of all, it was made clear to every controller that either no one got fired or everyone got fired. The union reps pointed out that if we got to 85% of the workforce going on strike (which we did) the system would not be able to function in a normal manner - which it didn't. The airlines very quickly began to beg the administration to rehire controllers because they started losing money hand-over-fist after the firing because strict traffic quotas were enacted that were several times worse than any slowdown by PATCO. But the administration wouldn't budge because they knew that if one controller got rehired, they would have to rehire all the controllers.

      The only mistake in our reasoning was that we didn't believe that the air traffic industry would allow the administration to destroy the industry in order to destroy PATCO.

      Yes, it was a public relations mistake to ask for a large raise, but public opinion had nothing to do with the success or failure of the strike. And whoever heard of a strike without salary demands?

      The strike was a "failure" for the same reason that it was a "success". Reagan was advised that if he set a 48-hour deadline that all but 900-1000 strikers would return. They were off by about 10,400 employees. Everyone was fired, just as the union leaders had said - all of us or none of us. The union members voted to strike, not the leaders.

      It is against the law for all federal workers to strike, not against the contract. So we broke the law and we paid the price. We had broken the same law about 10 years before this action and only 2 people ended up not getting their jobs back as a result of the settlement - 2 out of thousands of strikers - and they agreed to go so that a settlement could be reached. At the time of the strike PATCO was working without a contract because it had expired, because the FAA refused to bargain in good faith.

      It is the right of every worker to withhold their labor, whether it is against the law or not.

      There is a name for people who are forced to work when they don't want to:  SLAVE

      We chose not to work and we paid the price.

      But I guess you would have to believe in something in order to do something like that, right?

      It's much easier to stand on the sidelines and criticize someone who is trying to fight the good fight rather than actually having to get in there and get all dirty and stuff, eh?

      Oh yeah, and the teamsters crossed our picket lines so what does that say about their "union"?

      OK. And now we begin the part of the show where we pull out individual words and phrases of the commenter to try to determine the "real" meaning of the comment.... let the games begin.

      by hillbrook green on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:17:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear you but - (0+ / 0-)

        I am simply saying that the majority (I think a sizable majority) of the public thought this was an over-reach.  PATCO was unable to generate sympathy with much of the public, and in fact, many (again, I think most) blamed the union for the disruption to air service.  Do you think reagan's overall popularity increased or decreased as a result?  Unfortunately, I think it was a political windfall for him.   But I agree that you certainly can't be blamed or faulted for standing fast for your principles.

  •  I remember this ..... (0+ / 0-)

    ... it affected union bargaining where I worked at the time ... a totally different field and different union, but afterwards the 'Company' stopped bargaining in good faith for years.

  •  The Right still reveres Reagan... (0+ / 0-)

    because they're still looking for someone who could sell snake oil to America the way he could. As criminal and incompetent as George W. Bush was, or Romney would like to be, it all began to go downhill with Reagan.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 05:41:16 PM PDT

  •  Ya know.... (0+ / 0-)

    When it comes down to basics, these rethugs lie to get what they want and then screw the very people who helped them get it.
    Just a bunch of amoral SOB f*cktards (and that's with apologies to regular SOBs everywhere).
    They MUST be voted out of office.  ASAP.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 06:58:28 PM PDT

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