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NATCA Remembers our PATCO Brothers and Sisters

Brothers and Sisters:

Forty-one years ago today, after 95 percent of its members rejected a contract proposal the Federal Aviation Administration’s had offered five days earlier, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) decided to strike for safer work conditions, reliable equipment, adequate staffing levels, and fair work and pay rules. Nearly 13,000 controllers – about 85 percent of the union’s membership and 79 percent of the workforce – honored the picket line. Two days later, President Ronald Reagan fired all striking controllers. About 875 controllers returned from the picket line to work before the firings, but 11,350 PATCO members stayed out and subsequently lost their jobs.

It’s tough to imagine the difficult decision our union brothers and sisters faced as they took a brave and honorable stand for our profession and the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS). The costs to many of them and their families were profound and lasting. We honor their sacrifice, their commitment to our profession, and their bravery in fighting for union principles.

On this important anniversary, we ask our NATCA family to join us in remembering the sacrifice of our PATCO brothers and sisters. NATCA is the Union it is today because our founders never forgot the great legacy of PATCO. We continue to be deeply humbled by their solidarity and commitment. We must not take our jobs or our union rights for granted. We honor them by continuing their legacy of protecting our profession and the NAS. We must fight every day to ensure the rights of NATCA members are always protected.

In Solidarity,

The National Executive Board

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