If Walker is Attempting to Mirror Reagan, He Should Know Reagan Supported Public Sector Unions | Wis.Community

If Walker is Attempting to Mirror Reagan, He Should Know Reagan Supported Public Sector Unions

One of the most amusing parts of the Walker's is his story about how he held up a picture of Reagan to his cabinet and compared Reagan's firing of air traffic controllers to his attempt to kill public sector unions in Wisconsin.

Many on the right, including Hannity, Rush and O'Reilly, have drawn similar comparisons to the two events.

Like many of the Right's Reagan invocations, this has no basis is reality.

In fact, because of labor tensions between the unions and Carter, Reagan sought (and received) the endorsement of the air traffic controllers (and other unions) in the 1980 election,

I pledge to you that my administration will work very closely with you to bring about the spirit of cooperation between the president and the air traffic controllers.You can rest assured that if I am elected President, I will take whatever steps are necessary to provide our air traffic controllers with the most modern equipment available and to adjust staff levels and work days so that they are commensurate with public safety.

After seven months of negotiations with the unions, the FAA and the union were at a logjam, with the Union balking at the FAA's best offer of an 11% pay raise. So, the controllers went on strike, hoping for a better deal. The only problem was that it is illegal for federal employees in a public safety capacity to go on stirke. Reagan asked them to return to the bargaining table and told them if they did not return to work, he would fire them for breaking the law. They didn't return to work and Reagan followed through on his threat.

It's important to note, however, that Reagan made a point of qualifying his firings with his support of unions and the ability of workers that are not in a public-safety capacity to go on strike, saying that he himself used to be a union president and once led a strike and that he was the only president in history to be elected as a lifetime member of the AFL-CIO.

Plus, its important to remember that Kennedy gave federal workers the power to unionize through and that Reagan could have nixed Kennedy's EO at any time, but chose not to do anything remotely close to it during his entire presidency.

There is simply no comparison between Reagan's "spirit of cooperation" and Walker's attempt to kill public sector unions and to do so, is to insult the legacy of Reagan.

 

 

 

Published

February 23, 2011 - 5:28pm

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