Joseph McCartin: "Collision Course"

Joseph McCartin: "Collision Course"

An historian explains how Ronald Reagan's confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization changed the American workplace in ways the former president could not predict and did not advocate.

“A free labor movement is essential to the preservation and expansion of free enterprise.” That’s what President Reagan wrote in a letter dated November 12, 1985. As president of the screen actors guild, he led a successful union strike. As governor of California, he supported the rights of government workers to unionize and bargain collectively. But in the early days of his presidency, he decided to break a strike by the air traffic controllers union. A labor historian describes the unique circumstances behind Reagan’s confrontation with PATCO and the consequences for American workers and politics.


Joseph McCartin

associate professor of History at Georgetown University and author of "Labor's Great War."

Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct and Terms of Use before posting your comments.

Our address has changed!

The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.