Friday, September 25, 2009
The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) Strike
While preparing the NAS Plan, the FAA faced a strike by key members of its workforce. An earlier period of discord between management and the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) culminated in a 1970 “sickout” by 3,000 controllers. Although controllers subsequently gained additional wage and retirement benefits, another period of tension led to an illegal strike in August 1981. The government dismissed over 11,000 strike participants and decertified PATCO. By the spring of 1984, the FAA ended the last of the special restrictions imposed to keep the airspace system operating safely during the strike.