The Unionized States of America

Enemies of America overseas take their measure of an American president from the way he handles his domestic political bargains. Early in his first term., President Reagan established his image as a strong leader by firing air traffic controllers who broke the law by going on strike. He warned their union, the Professional Air Traffic Controller Union, that he would do so, but also promised to retain any controllers who ignored the picket lines and continued to show up to their jobs. Despite dire predictions, Reagan and his team were able to field replacements --some military, some managers -- and train new controllers. No accidents occurred. The union, led by a radical, failed its members and was eventually decertified. Controllers who were fired often remained unemployed for years (Bill Clinton overturned a ban on their hiring as controllers). Regan took a strong stand and earned his image -- one that proved fruitful to him on the world stage as he confronted a Soviet Union that had...(Read Full Post)

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