Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reaction from a Fired Controller

As people have a chance to read the book, I would like to provide room for them to share their reactions, particularly if they participated in or were directly affected by the events of 1981.  I received this e-mail today from Elliott Simons.  Elliott was a controller who served as the spokesperson for PATCO's local at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in 1981 and he lost his job for striking.  He has agreed to let me post this message and a link to an article he wrote explaining his actions back in 1981.  Perhaps others will want to also share their stories with me:  

Dr. McCartin,

I was vacationing when you did the Diane Rehm show, but someone sent me the link so I could listen to it.  Thank you for doing the research and writing the book.

Had I been listening that day I would not have been able to resist calling in with my anecdote: I joined the FAA in 1975, and new employees heard about the PATCO sickout right away to 'encourage' us to join the union.  I did, but when the stike talk began I was skeptical.  I attended a PATCO convention in Washington probably in early 1981, and I heard John Leyden say that 'even if PATCO got the required 80-percent participation for a strike it would not do so unless the political and economic conditions were right.'  That convinced me that this man knew what he was doing, and with those conditions I provided my support.  Then a couple of things happened.  First, Reagan