Labor's Unhappy Anniversary
From: Dick Meister
It was 30 years ago this month that the virulently anti-union President Ronald Reagan's firing of striking air traffic controllers sent labor tumbling into a steep decline it's still struggling to reverse.
It was 30 years ago this month that Ronald Reagan struck the blow that sent the American labor movement tumbling into a decline it's still struggling to reverse.
Reagan, one of the most anti-labor presidents in history, set the decline in motion by firing 11,500 of the overworked and underpaid air traffic controllers whose work was essential to the operation of the world's most complex aviation system.
Reagan fired them because they dared respond to his administration's refusal to bargain fairly on a new contract by striking in violation of the law prohibiting strikes by federal employees. What's more, he also all but destroyed their union, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO).
Public and private employers everywhere treated Reagan's 1981 action as a signal to take an uncompromising stand against the unions that they had accepted and bargained with, however re...
Read the full transcript
Intro and OutroINTRO:
Commentator Dick Meister recalls a very unhappy day for labor.OUTRO:
Dick Meister is a long-time labor and political journalist.