jm asked in Politics & GovernmentGovernment · 1 decade ago

PATCO strike of 81 and Reagan?

My US history teacher was talking bad about how he handled it by firing them. This was the first i had heard about this but i wouldve been pleased with the response Reagan used. But I decided to look this up anyways to get all the details, and found out my teacher failed to include the fact that he gave them 48 hrs to return and warned them that they would be fired. These people were putting citizens in danger, and not to mention breaking a law, good response by Reagan.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Very good for you. That is a classic example of bias. You should get an A for not believing everything you hear. This is exactly how the major news networks perform their bias.

    I was watching NBC news one night. They reported that the us military was doubling the number of recruits they would accept without a high school diploma (this was back when Bush was president). They clearly wanted to convey that the military was very deparate. What they failed to also state what that they were raising the number allowed from like 100 per year to 200. They didn't lie, but leaving that part out was extremely misleading. They did not want to say they went from allowing 0.01% to 0.02% because it would ruin their intentions. It made any reasonable person think they were going to allow thousands more in. (Note: my numbers are wrong here, because it happened too long ago and I don't remember the exact numbers, but the point it the same).

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I suggest you do some further research before you make up your mind that this was a “good response” from Reagan. It goes a little deeper than “these guys went on strike and Reagan fired them GOOD FOR HIM tough guy.“ There are two sides to every story.

    It is true that the striking PATCO workers were violating a law that had been in effect since 1978: the Civil Service Reform act, which among other things prohibited government workers from striking. While it should be pointed out that several government labor unions, including a USPS union, had gone on strike since that time with no penalties, it is true that they were violating a law, and Reagan was within his rights to punish them. That is a fact...I don't agree with what he did, but the fact remains, he was within the law to do so.

    However, does that make it a good thing?

    On the union side, the main greivances were mostly job-related issues. Due to the incredibly high stress they faced on the job, they asked for a 32-hour work week--it was argued that they would be able to perform their jobs safer if they had more time to rest, as opposed to their current situation which had many of them working long hours with mandatory overtime and no breaks. They also wanted updated computer equipment, and what they called an “achievable retirement” (89% left work before retirement due to the job stresses). They also asked for a pay raise, but PATCO kept that low on the list of priorities, rightly assuming that they would get little sympathy from the public on that particular issue, since air-traffic controllers were extremely well paid. In the moral sense, the strike was arguably justified, however, for many reason, it was ill-advised, and it was very poorly carried out.

    Well, you know the story. They didn’t get any of these things, they went on strike, Gipper fired them.

    Before you join the chorus of Reagan idolaters, I would look a little deeper.

    In 1986, The U. S. Government Accounting Office issued a report to Congress stating there was no discernable difference between the complaints of a senior controller from that of a newly hired one. The critical issues that PATCO raised were never addressed. Also of note is that, since the FAA kept planes flying during the strike using controllers that were even MORE overworked, PATCO reported 481 near misses in the first year of the strike in comparison to 10 near misses reported in the prior 10 years.

    So, the net effect of the PATCO strike can be summed up thusly: Reagan shrewdly used it to his advantage, making himself look strong and decisive. Meanwhile, safety issues brought to light by the very people closest to these issues were ignored. The people that tried to do something about them were fired. And these issues exist to this day.

    I guess it depends on where your priorities sit. To me, I would have rather seen Reagan work constructively with the striking workers, like he promised to do in a letter THANKING THEM FOR SUPPORTING HIS CANDIDACY, and maybe they could have come to some agreements that would have eradicated these safety issues. That would be my priority. Good-faith negotiations don’t make anyone look like a tough guy, but they usually get better results.

    Reagan apparently didn’t care about our safety, his priority was to look like a big man so nobody would notice when he cut taxes on the rich and ran up our defecit. I guess if it makes you feel better to have a President that looks like a big man at our expense, it was a good response from Reagan.

    May I also suggest that you fact-check everything you read about this or any other political argument. There are misleading statements on both sides of any issue. For instance, I'll site an article about PATCO on the BUY AND HOLD website that erroneously states that at one time "60% of Americans belonged to a union." This is false...the highest percentage of unionized workers this country ever saw was 30%.

    I have cited some websites for you to reference. I hope you'll read them.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes sounds like you teacher also left out the strikers were violating a no strike clause in their contract which they had agreed to. Reagan had guts enough to do the right thing and take out the trash.

  • 1 decade ago

    I totally remember this, I was a kid and we lived right outside DC and were visiting family in FL. My parents were real nervous about getting home. The public was not happy about the impending strike and fully supported Regan when he fired them.. They were threatening to bring this country to a standstill...remember we had no cell phones or internet back then, it was old school. No air travel= no commerce basically.

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  • 1 decade ago

    your teacher is probably a democrat.

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