Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

A New President, and a Unionís Last Stand (Reagan and PATCO)
New York Times ^ | November 5, 2011 | BRYAN BURROUGH

Posted on 11/06/2011 4:21:36 AM PST by reaganaut1

FOR 30 years, Ronald Reagan’s breaking of the federal air traffic controller strike has often been seen as a turning point in United States history, the moment when labor unions began an inexorable decline and when political conservatism came of age.

The columnist George Will celebrated the defeated strike as a sign that years of liberal permissiveness had ended. “In a sense,” he wrote, “the ’60s ended in August 1981.”

A kind of myth has arisen — that the Reagan administration had this all planned, that it lured the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or Patco, into a trap so that it could be demolished. But as Joseph A. McCartin writes in his excellent history of the strike, “Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike That Changed America,” (Oxford University Press), nothing could be further from the truth.

The book says that the Ronald Reagan of early 1981 was no union buster, that he had been reaching out for union support and that, in Patco’s case, he agreed to grant concessions more plentiful than any ever granted to a public employee union by an American president. It was Patco’s hubris, contends Mr. McCartin, an associate professor of history at Georgetown University, that forced Mr. Reagan’s hand and led to the union’s subsequent implosion.

“Collision Course” charts the rise of Patco and other public-sector unions over the course of 20 years, from the moment that President John F. Kennedy allowed government workers to bargain collectively. This power, however, came with strict limitations; unions like Patco were not allowed to strike or bargain for higher wages. Their negotiations with the government typically revolved around working conditions.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: bookreview; patco; reagan; ronaldreagan

1 posted on 11/06/2011 4:21:38 AM PST by reaganaut1
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1
My dad had JUST retired when all this happened. His buddies would call him for advice and he'd tell them, go back to work! Men daddy had worked with for years, even some who were transferred with him from the New Orleans center to the, then, new airport in Houston, were out of their jobs!

Daddy had begrudgingly put the PATCO sticker on his car because he felt he had no choice. I think his first act as a retired person was to scrape it off.

2 posted on 11/06/2011 4:49:16 AM PST by sweet_diane (Adoption, the beautiful choice!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

Air traffic controllers currently average $121,000 per year. I have no problem with it.

My problem is why they ever needed a union - and, likewise, why do we even allow unions in this country at all. Their day has long passed, there are laws and lawyers all over the place to take care of abused workers. And they can even quit if they don’t like how they’re treated, of if they think they should advance faster.

But people, even on this site, still defend unions...


3 posted on 11/06/2011 5:03:00 AM PST by BobL ( A vote for Newt is a vote for Romney)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sweet_diane

“His buddies would call him for advice and he’d tell them, go back to work!”

Your father is (or was) a class guy. He knew the political winds and probably saved a lot of REALLY GOOD careers and also helped keep the guys much safer (both by him working through his career and by telling others to keep working when their union was telling them they would roll Reagan).


4 posted on 11/06/2011 5:07:35 AM PST by BobL ( A vote for Newt is a vote for Romney)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: BobL
why do we even allow unions in this country at all

Hear. Hear. And if we can't stop people from forming unions, we can certainly take away their government protections.

I was 30 in 1983 and didn't pay all that much attention to politics. I'd voted for Reagan, but it was when he shut down PATCO that I realized we had someone truly different as president.

5 posted on 11/06/2011 5:30:26 AM PST by BfloGuy (Even the opponents of Socialism are dominated by socialist ideas.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: reaganaut1

The original claim was that downtrodden workers needed to unionize to protect themselves from eeeeeeevil corporations.

Why do government employees need to unionize? To protect themselves from eeeeevil taxpayers?


6 posted on 11/06/2011 5:51:41 AM PST by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BfloGuy

“I was 30 in 1983 and didn’t pay all that much attention to politics. I’d voted for Reagan, but it was when he shut down PATCO that I realized we had someone truly different as president. “

I was actually younger and actually did pay attention. I could not believe that the PATCO people didn’t take Reagan at his word...it was really, really, dumb of them. And they pretty much had gotten everything they wanted. Unreal.

I also, having gown up the Northeast, remember strikes and how frequent and annoying they were. The practically ended the day Reagan fired those guys. It had some kind of psychological effect, because it didn’t affect the usual band of strikers at all. And without those strikes, the country did quite well in the 80s and 90s.


7 posted on 11/06/2011 5:53:59 AM PST by BobL ( A vote for Newt is a vote for Romney)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: DuncanWaring
...protect themselves from eeeeevil taxpayers...

No need for the question mark, Duncan. You nailed it.

Six Whiskey Tango

8 posted on 11/06/2011 6:18:52 AM PST by 386wt
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: BobL
I’d voted for Reagan, but it was when he shut down PATCO that I realized we had someone truly different as president.

“ ......as did the Soviet Union


9 posted on 11/06/2011 6:19:26 AM PST by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ("Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts." Richard Feynman father of Quantum Physics)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson