05 August, 2011

August 5, 1981

You’re fired.

President Ronald Reagan (R-USA) fires 11,345 striking air traffic controllers. PATCO had endorsed Reagan in the 1980 Presidential campaign, a decision I’m sure that they later regretted.

Alan Greenspan later commented:

Perhaps the most important, and then highly controversial, domestic initiative was the firing of the air traffic controllers in August 1981. The President invoked the law that striking government employees forfeit their jobs, an action that unsettled those who cynically believed no President would ever uphold that law. President Reagan prevailed, as you know, but far more importantly his action gave weight to the legal right of private employers, previously not fully exercised, to use their own discretion to both hire and discharge workers.

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