By Matt Murray
Aug 3rd is a date I will never forget for two reasons. Today is my Mom’s birthday (happy birthday mom), and today is anniversary of the PATCO Strike. Today marks the 30th anniversary of day that 17,000 Air Traffic Control Specialist went on Strike. After a three day standoff with President Regan, almost 13,000 controllers were fired on the spot. (updated at 10:30, A great editorial was published in the NYT on the strike click here to read)
While PATCO is long gone, their spirt still remains. From the ashes of PATCO an new Union began to form. After many years of struggling on June 11 of 1987 the National Air Traffic Controllers Association was certified as the sole representative for FAA air traffic controllers.
Now 30 years later the FAA and NATCA work together to solve issues within the largest and most complex air traffic system in world. Today NATCA Controllers work together to move seven million air traffic operations a year.
I just wanted to take a moment from our busy live to reflect on some of the sacrifices people have made in the name of Labor. 13,000 Air Traffic Controllers lost their jobs, their retirements, and much more when they took a stand. They stood for better working conditions, and were trying to negotiate a contract with a 36 hour work week due to the high stress of air traffic control. These are some issues that we are still fighting today. Now NATCA works to help create the new technology that will help air traffic controllers continue to provide the public safety they have for fifty plus years.
For those who would like to know more about PATCO and NATCA here is the link to PDF book called “Against the wind”, a history of NATCA.
PS please take a moment to read about NATCA’s current struggle with FAA funding from a few days ago. http://nhlnn.blogspot.com/2011/08/furloughs-for-4000-faa-employees-to.html
An interesting letter to the editor on funding the State of New Hampshire college system.
War money better spent on education – NashuaTelegraph.com: “So far, we in New Hampshire have contributed a total of $5.1 billion to the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. That is enough to fully fund a four-year education for all incoming students for the next 20 years.
New Hampshire ranks 50th in the nation for state spending on college and university education – very firmly in last place. At a time when a college education is increasingly crucial to employers, the New Hampshire Legislature has cut the state’s contribution to our university system by about 45 percent.
Is this part of the Legislature’s “jobs program”? Our young people, forced to go out of state to seek higher education, will seek and find their jobs out of state as well. Every ill-spent dollar we squander on war is a dollar we aren’t investing in the future of our state and its people.
Re-read that opening paragraph! The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost New Hampshire enough to give all of its students a college education for the next 20 years!”
Today marks the anniversary one of the most horrific moments in our nations history. Many other blogs have been asking “Do you remember where you were on September 11th?.” I am sure we all remember what we were doing. Those images of the airplanes being flown into the World Trade Center are forever imprinted in our memory. My question to you is “What else do you remember about September 11th?”
I remember the look of fear in my wife’s eyes as we watched in horror at the events of September 11th. I remember faces of the people at ground zero running for their lives in a cloud of smoke and falling debris as the buildings began to collapse around them. I remember seeing the police and firefighters rushing into those same collapsing building to search for people lost in the smoke.
Over the next few days we as Americans went through a significant shift. We continued to mourn the loss of those who died, while we rallied behind those brave men and women of the FDNY and NYPD. They continued to search the rubble for missing people. We began to refer to these brave men and women as the Hero’s of 9/11. We vowed never to forget.
Now 15 years later the image of those three firefighters raising the American Flag of the remains of the World Trade Center, is one of the most memorable images of September 11th. But now something else has happened. Those same brave firefighters are still called Heroes on the days surrounding 9/11, and called “Union Thugs” the other 364 days a year.
What has happened? What has changed in America that we went from buying FDNY shirts and hats, and donating money to the International Association of Firefighters to making them enemies of the country?
Why is government trying to demonize these brave heroic men and women.
So on this day, remember all of September 11th. Remember over 3000 men and women who died tragically. Remember those 600 first responders who also died as Heroes. The courageous men and women who put lives of others ahead of their own. Remember this when people refer to Firefighters and Police Officers as Union Thugs. They have and always be this countries HEROES. That is something we should never forget.