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How Ronald Reagan’s fight with air traffic controllers forever changed labor relations




Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

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In 1981, air traffic controllers at Washington Dulles airport called an illegal strike. President Ronald Reagan, who had been in office less than a year – and who had been endorsed by the controllers’ union – fired the striking workers.

History professor Joseph A. McCartin’s new book, “Collision Course,” chronicles the accidents and work conditions that led to the foundation of a union for air traffic controllers, the two decades of escalating conflict between air traffic controllers and the government – and how the situation turned the tide of public opinion against striking workers.

WEIGH IN:

How has the public’s perception of labor unions changed? Are labor unions relevant in modern society?

Guest:

Joseph A. McCartin, associate professor of history at Georgetown and author of “Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America”