Monday, July 30, 2012

Mike Rock Tells the Story of PATCO's Origins

This week will mark the 31st anniversary of the 1981 air traffic controllers' strike.  With that in mind, I thought it would be a good time to post an interesting bit of historical memorabilia.   This is a video of PATCO co-founder Mike Rock taken on January 10, 1979, as he told the story of the origins of the air traffic controllers' union, recounting the working conditions controllers faced in the 1960s and the long struggle that led them to decide to form their own organization.  The film was made at the AFL-CIO's training center in Silver Spring, Maryland, as Rock spoke to PATCO activists who were beginning the union's preparations for the 1981 contract expiration.  The quality of the video isn't the greatest.  It was preserved and copied several times by Mike's friend, and PATCO legend Jack Maher (who passes briefly across the screen in the videos opening moment).  But Jack gave it to me with the hope that it would help explain why he and Mike and their colleagues began organizing in the first place.  This is the opening excerpt of a several hours worth of history that Rock shared with his PATCO colleagues in 1979.  I cut off this segment just before Rock recounted PATCO's founding.  I'll be posting more of the Rock lectures once I edit them.  Enjoy: