Dear Mr. Poli: I have been briefed by members of my staff as to the deplorable state of our nation’s air traffic control system. They have told me that too few people working unreasonable hours with obsolete equipment has placed the nation’s air travelers in unwarranted danger. In an area so clearly related to public safety the Carter administration has failed to act responsibly. You can rest assured that if I am elected President, I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with achieving a maximum degree of public safety... I pledge to you that my administration will work very closely with you to bring about a spirit of cooperation between the President and the air traffic controllers. Sincerely, Ronald Reagan
The above was a letter to, Robert Poli, the head of the traffic controller’s union (PATCO) on October 20, 1980. On August 3, 1981 after being elected president with the support of PATCO, the Teamsters and the Air Line Pilots Association, the new president ordered the traffic controllers back to work. He gave the union members 48 hours to make up their minds to return to work or lose their jobs. Reagan said that their walking off their jobs on August 3, 1981 constituted “a peril to national safety.” Reagan warns the union that their strike is illegal and violates a 1955(56) law that prohibits government workers from striking. A federal judge then finds PATCO President Robert Poli in contempt of court and fines the union $1000 a day for each day its members remain on strike. The strikers do not conform to the President’s demand and ignore the court’s threats. On august 5, 1981 Reagan fires the majority of the union members and bans them from ever being rehired. On the surface this strike seems typical - higher wages, better working conditions and benefits, and respect for workers. But this strike is far from typical. After reading a number of analyses it becomes rather obvious that something strange is going on. In 1968 PATCO was founded with the assistance of the famous lawyer F. Lee Bailey. F. Lee bailey was also a pilot in the military. In 1969 the union staged a “sickout.” The federal courts intervened but yet the FAA was brought to the bargaining table and concessions were made to the union. But even so the underlining causes of the discontent lingered on. In the intervening years complaint after complaint was registered by the controllers - but nothing changed. Two surveys (The Rose Report and The Jones Report) and a number of studies were conducted to try to determine the exact nature of the controller’s complaints. The controllers complained of being overworked, over-stressed, under staffed, poor training of incoming controllers, harassed and harried by supervisors, under equipped, and a loss of personal and family time. In 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1978 the traffic controllers engaged in nationwide slowdowns and more sickouts. Surveyors and investigators found most of the claims to be true and made recommendations accordingly. The FAA managers ignored the advice and nothing changed. The controllers’ claims of undue stress were investigated. It was found that though their jobs were considered no more stressful than many others, the controllers were exhibiting stress related symptoms - excessive drinking, family problems, physical and mental breakdowns. Something was wrong and it seemed to be with the FAA management style and personnel. Many of the management team were ex-military. They were authoritarian, demanding, overbearing, unsympathetic, controlling and manipulative. Finally, on August 3, 1981, 13,000 air traffic controllers walked off the job. The majority of the strikers were fired and never rehired. In June of 1981 the controllers were offered a $2,500 increase in addition to $1,400 overall government increase along with a few other minor adaptations. Ninety-five percent of the union members rejected the offer. Reagan summarily fired over 11,350 skilled workers in one day. He was able to do this because the government had been secretly preparing for this circumstance. The secret FAA plan was immediately implemented. A flow control system was incorporated. It regulated and distributed an even number of daily flights. Supervisors, military personnel and secretly trained staff were brought into the workplace. With 7000 fewer controllers than before the strike the government was able to maintain over 80% of scheduled flights. The new workers were temporarily happy but by 1983 they were once again organizing a union. Now the “scabs” were organizing. It seems that none of the original problems had disappeared. By 1987 the scabs and union busters had formed the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Their complaints seemed to mirror PATCO’s. Investigators were surprised and shocked. In 2006 the ground started rumbling once again. NATCO and the FAA were at odds over their contract. Ronald Reagan, patenting himself after his personal “hero” Calvin Coolidge re-orchestrated the infamous Boston Police Strike and much to the same result. Like Calvin Coolidge before him, Mr. Reagan became a hero in the eyes of the American public. His action was hailed by the press and cheered by the populous. Thirteen thousand skilled trained workers were declared to be lying and without legitimate reason for complaint. Eleven thousand three hundred and fifty were fired on the spot in response to a law that seems clearly unconstitutional. If you can deny any group of workers the right to strike, why not all workers? The right to strike as with the right to protest or the right to revolt is not something that a government grants. It is the natural right of the people. If the government chooses to challenge the people, it can do so. It has the power. It is really difficult to understand fully what went on here. Clearly a political event took place. The problem was obviously not solved. It continues to the day of this writing. But as can be seen from reading all the entries in this volume, respect for the American worker is not and has never been a national priority.
Books by Richard Edward Noble. Click on covers below for more info and purchasing instructions.
Classic Tragic Novel
Bloggin' Be My Life
"Bloggin' be My Life" contains a selection of some of my more popular Hobo Philosopher blogs.If you enjoy reading this blog, you should love Bloggin' Be My Life.
It's All About Love
It's All About Love is ... all about love. This is the 2nd book of poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford off Arlington. Every poem in this book comes with a prose introduction. If you enjoy poetry this is a simple choice. Have fun!
A Little Something
Traditional poetry from The Bard From Chelmsford Off Arlington with some poignant prose introductions. If you enjoy any type of poetry, you will enjoy this volume. Thanks.
Bits and Pieces
The Hobo Philosopher - My first book using the Hobo Philosopher brand. Featuring a variety of writing styles and ideas. Look for the Thoughtful Hobo on the cover.
A Baker's Dozen
The Hobo Philosopher: My Second book of Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction and Short Stories. All varieties of short stories - lots of laughs!
Cat Point - and Them Dang Oyster People
Cat Point is the sequel to "The Eastpointer." Both books contain humorous tales about life in a fishing community on the Florida Panhandle. Lots of laughs.
Won 1st Place award for humor in 2007 from Florida Press Association. More wit, wisdom and humor from the yet to be world famous author, R.E. Noble
A Summer with Charlie - Lawrence
Fiction - Salisbury Beach, Lawrence, Mass. Featured in Merrimack Valley Magazine July /Aug. issue 2010
Travel, Humor, Commentary on migrant farm work and illegal immigration still very pertinent today.
"Just Hangin' Out Ma"
Thank God for the Street Corners of Lawrence, Mass. Anecdotes and humorous escapades about growing up in an industrial mill town in the 40s,50s and 60s.
This is the sequel to "Just Hangin' Out, Ma"
That Old Gang of Mine
This is # 3 in my Lawrence Hometown series. The series is about growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's in an industrial mill town. Sorta like a Huck Finn goes to vist Uncle Ralph, the bus driver, who lives in a big, rundown city. Lots of fun.
Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother
Classic tragic novel written from child's perspective. Deals with abuse, poverty, unemployment. Pulls no punches.
Noble Notes on Famous Folks
Humorous, satirical notes on everybody from Constantine to Bill Clinton. Inspiration: Willy Cuppy.
America on Strike
History - documented survey of labor strikes in America
Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
Who are the American Nazis - the Liberals or the Conservatives?
MY NAME IS RICHARD EDWARD NOBLE. I AM A FREELANCE WRITER AND I HAVE PUBLISHED 12 BOOKS:"THE EASTPOINTER" - SELECTIONS FROM AWARD WINNING NEWSPAPER COLUMN - "A LITTLE SOMETHING" - POETRY WITH PROSE -"HONOR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER" - A NOVEL ABOUT GROWING UP IN THE NEW ENGLAND MILL TOWN OF LAWRENCE, MASS, "HOBO-ING AMERICA" - A WORKINGMAN'S TOUR OF THE U.S.A. - "A SUMMER WITH CHARLIE" - THE STORY OF A YOUNG SAILOR'S LAST DAYS AT SALISBURY BEACH, "NOBLE NOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS" - HUMOROUS ANECDOTES ON FAMOUS FOLKS IN HISTORY,
"AMERICA ON STRIKE" HISTORY BOOK - A SURVEY OF LABOR STRIKES IN AMERICA; "A BAKER'S DOZEN" A BOOK OF HUMOROUS SHORT STORIES; "JUST HANGIN' OUT, MA" - GROWING UP IN THE 40'S, 50'S AND 60'S IN LAWRENCE, MY HOMETOWN, "TENEMENT DWELLERS" - SEQUEL TO JUST HANGIN OUT, MA; MEIN KAMPF - ANALYSIS OF BOOK ONE - HISTORY. CAT POINT - AND THEM DANG OYSTER PEOPLE - SEQUEL TO THE EASTPOINTER
All 12 BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND OTHER INTERNET SOURCES OR FROM NOBLE PUBLISHING. ALL 12 OF MY BOOKS ARE NOW ON KINDLE AT BARGAIN PRICES TOO. IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DISCOUNTS AND SPECIAL OFFERS E-MAIL ME. MY EMAIL IS ON MY PROFILE PAGE.