Union strikes

The strike that busted unions

New York Times records common strikes that happen among workers demanding higher pay from their employers. Most workers form unions to represent them to their employers and bargain for a pay rise. Incase employers refused to fulfill their demands they opt for strikes and demonstrations to be heard. However, president Reagan of United States was not pleased by strikes done by air controllers and decided to end their unions and deny their workers’ rights to bargain for their rights.

Ronald Reagan issued threats of firing more than 13,000 controllers of air traffic unless they call off an illegal strike. Ronald Reagan’s approach was best because his presidency was transformed and the world was shaped. The confrontation lowered the power of American workers to bargain and that of labor unions. In addition, American politics was polarized to the extent that they were not allowed to addresses causes of their economic problems. At the time, incomes stagnated despite more produce from workers and increase of corporate profits. It was a great risk to fire workers and break unions of those who refused to heed to his warnings. Most of his advisers worried that a disaster would result from replacement of most air controllers.

Air travels were most affected in that it took many years and billion dollars to take back systems to their normal operations. Risk taken by Reagan showed federal workers and soviet leaders his toughness. There were 39 stoppages of workers illegally and against laws of the federal government. Shrinking of the economy continued even after three decades with the consequences of destruction of unions being felt continuously. It is clear that falling from strikes has harmed workers largely which were not expected even by Reagan. From the article Reagan seems to be a double-sided ruler since he gave organization rights to workers of private sectors claiming that they were important in all democracies.

Reagan pointed this statement in support of Lech Walesa’a anti-communist solidarity movement in Poland and boasted of being the first president to lead a union strike. He defended his firing of federal workers by claiming that they were not allowed to strike by the law.

Private sector workers used the strike as an advantage tool to manage conflicts in the labor market between World war 11 and 1981. They withheld work to get additions in their salaries from their employers. As a result, private employers were encouraged and emulated President Reagan by replacing striking experienced employers with other new workers. Companies such as International paper and Phelps Dodge are examples.

Reagants movement to replace workers who walk out from jobs demanding more pay resulted in less walk out among workers. Unions do not pressure employers to increase their pay as workers increased production levels. Moreover, levels of inequality have increased at an alarming rate from 1920s.

Reagan opposed strikes from government officials and supported their efforts of uniting and bargaining collectively. Patco strikes on republicans have overshadowed Reagan’s professed beliefs about public sector unions. Mass firing done by Reagan has been viewed as an improper method of stopping unions from breaking laws but a blow against public sector unions.

The article adds that Gov.Scott Walker of Wisconsin invoked the way Reagan handled Patco and was prepared to change the history of workers by advocating that Reagan challenged rights of workers to strikes and not their rights to bargain.

Anti-union views coming from Mr. Walker increased among union leaders although workers could not express their work place interests any better than they way they did before depression. Such long-term consequences continue unfolding with major effects than were expected by Reagan.


McCartin, J. (2016). New York Times Company. The strike that busted Unions. Opinion pages. Retrieved from www.nytimes.com/…/reagan-vs-patco-the-strike-that-busted-unions.html

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