This Week in NATCA/Labor History
Monday, June 27, 2011


July 2, 1981 — PATCO board favors rejecting contract: The union’s nine-member Executive Board unanimously recommends that controllers turn down the proposed pact. Still hoping to attain the “80/80” strike-vote goal, the board believes the level of militancy among the rank and file will never be higher to achieve the primary goals of a shorter workweek and better retirement plan.

July 2, 1982 — PATCO declares bankruptcy: The union files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. President Gary Eads says PATCO has $5 million in assets but owes $40 million, including $33.4 million to airlines for violating the 1970 no-strike injunction. “It is over for PATCO,” Eads says. “The union is gone.” (PATCO was established on January 15, 1968.)

June 26, 1986 — Article XX AFL-CIO hearing: The hearing focuses on whether AFGE or MEBA should organize NATCA. MEBA, which had organized PATCO controllers, ultimately prevails.

June 27, 1997 — NATCA Radar Tower Coalition: Eighteen controllers from radar control towers across the nation meet in Chicago and form a special group to address common issues.

June 26, 2000 — Contract towers: The U.S. District Court rules for the second time that the FAA has not made a valid decision on whether air traffic control is an “inherently governmental” function. The court leaves the existing contract tower program in place. For the second time, NATCA asks the U.S. Court of Appeals to discontinue the program.


 President Grover Cleveland signs legislation declaring Labor Day an official U.S. holiday.

1935: Congress passes the National Labor Relations Act, creating the structure for collective bargaining in the United States.

1936: The Walsh-Healey Act took effect today. It requires companies that supply goods to the government to pay wages according to a schedule set by the Secretary of Labor.

The federal government sues the Teamsters to force reforms on the union, the nation's largest. The following March, the government and the union sign a consent decree requiring direct election of the union's president and creation of an Independent Review Board.