Reagan, Air Traffic Controllers, and the UAW
The opening of the Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan presidential library was marred last night by the belligerently anti-union rhetoric of Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
Stuart Varney of Fox Business Network, one of the debate moderators, opened with an inquiry into the story that Scott had bought up Ronald Reagan’s monumental decision to fire the striking air traffic controllers in 1981.
“Ronald Reagan gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike,” Scott said at a campaign event in Iowa earlier this month. “He said, ‘You strike, you’re fired.’ Simple concept to me.”
As we explained earlier this week, this was not a very “great example” for how a Republican president should respond to a union’s strike. The air traffic controllers were not on strike against a private employer, negotiating over the share of an enterprise’s revenues. They were in negotiations with the Federal Aviation Administration over how much taxpayer funds should be used to compensate them.
What’s more, their strike was in breach of a law banning strikes by federal workers. Reagan ordered them back to…