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NATCA Honors the 42nd Anniversary of PATCO Strike

Forty-two years ago, our union brothers and sisters took a remarkably brave and honorable stand for our profession and the safety of the National Airspace System (NAS).

On Aug. 3, 1981, 13,000 Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) members decided to strike for safer work conditions, reliable equipment, adequate staffing levels, and fair work and pay rules.

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.

These men and women gave up their careers and salaries to defend a profession they loved. The costs to them and their families were profound and lasting. Looking back, we remember them and honor their sacrifices, their commitment to our profession, and their bravery in fighting for union principles.

NATCA is the union it is today because our founders never forgot the great legacy of PATCO. As we face current challenges, we must not take our jobs or our union rights for granted.

We ask NATCA members to join us in remembering our PATCO brothers and sisters. We continue to be humbled by their solidarity and commitment. 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.

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