8 Responses to “once a hero, always a hero”

  1. 1 Soldier*1
    March 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    First again 🙂 I like what he is doing and I hope more people will follow his example

  2. 2 Sonjia Duncan
    March 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I wonder if he was thinking back to the miserable time of the air traffic strike and firing. It was scary when it did not have to be for those of us who had to fly for our jobs.

  3. 3 barb
    March 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Sonjia, I need to refresh myself regarding that sir traffic strike. Was it the air controllers who Reagan fired?

    What a pleasant surprise to see him again. Just looking at that remarkable picture and the lives saved to live another day would have to have an impact on one’s life. Happy to see him involved in WI.

    • March 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

      Here you go Barb:

      On August 3, 1981 the The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization declared a strike, seeking better working conditions, better pay and a 32-hour workweek. In addition, PATCO no longer wanted to be included within the civil service clauses that had haunted it for decades. In doing so, the union violated a law {5 U.S.C. (Supp. III 1956) 118p.} that banned strikes by government unions. Ronald Reagan declared the PATCO strike a “peril to national safety” and ordered them back to work under the terms of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. Only 1,300 of the nearly 13,000 controllers returned to work.[4] Subsequently, Reagan demanded those remaining on strike return to work within 48 hours, otherwise their jobs would be forfeited. At the same time Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis organized for replacements and started contingency plans. By prioritizing and cutting flights severely, and even adopting methods of air traffic management PATCO had previously lobbied for, the government was initially able to have 50% of flights available.[4]

      On August 5, following the PATCO workers’ refusal to return to work, Reagan fired the 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored the order,[6][7] and banned them from federal service for life. (This ban was later rescinded by President Bill Clinton in 1993.)[8] In the wake of the strike and mass firings the FAA was faced with the task of hiring and training enough controllers to replace those that had been fired, a hard problem to fix as at the time it took three years in normal conditions to train a new controller.[2] They were replaced initially with nonparticipating controllers, supervisors, staff personnel, some nonrated personnel, and in some cases by controllers transferred temporarily from other facilities. Some military controllers were also used until replacements could be trained. The FAA had initially claimed that staffing levels would be restored within two years; however, it would take closer to ten years before the overall staffing levels returned to normal.[2] PATCO was decertified on October 22, 1981.[9]

      Some former striking controllers were allowed to reapply after 1986 and were rehired; they and their replacements are now represented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which was organized in 1987 and had no connection with PATCO.


  4. 5 Sue in Minnesota
    March 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    For most of my career I scheuled pilots for a major airline. Highly paid, highly benefited union contracted and protected positions.
    The pilots union is a powerful and influential union and it needed to be. A pilots job is highly technical, training intensive, physically and mentally demanding. And of course they have enormous responsibility for the lives and safety of passengers.

    This is a significant statement by this pilot, and although you would think aligning with the unions would be a no brainer, there was a stubborn strain of Republicanism in the general fold of pilots that I worked with. I think their potential for wealth, their tendency to come from military backgrounds (Air Force and Navy are major training grounds for commercial pilots, not all but most) and
    and a propensity for frugality, influenced that trend. Hopefully, they can see the writing on the wall with our current slate of Republicans and will align in force with the people/unions.

  5. March 17, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you for your explanation of Reagan’s dismissal of the striking air traffic controllers. At the time I was working as an editor in our local university and saw one of my writers sitting at her desk as I came in. As rather dour woman of few words, I asked, “What do you think about this latest move by President Reagan?” Without looking up from the manuscript she was working on, she said, “May he be dropped from a great height.”

    I didn’t know until then that she was a Democrat.

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