Air Traffic Controllers Strike

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AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS STRIKE (1981). The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, the union representing the controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Administration, called a strike in August 1981 to press the government for salary increases, reduced hours, and better retirement benefits. When the more than eleven thousand striking members disobeyed President Ronald Reagan's ultimatum to return to their posts, they were fired. The government decertified the union as the controllers' bargaining agent and imposed severe fines and criminal charges against some union officials. Despite President Bill Clinton's reinstatement of the dismissed air traffic controllers in 1993, many observers believed Reagan's success in breaking this strike demonstrated the growing weakness of organized labor in the United States.


Nordlund, Willis J. Silent Skies: The Air Traffic Controllers' Strike. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1998.

Shostak, Arthur B., and David Skocik. The Air Controllers' Controversy. New York: Human Sciences Press, 1986.

AndrewFeldman/a. r.

See alsoStrikes .