Wednesday, August 03, 2011

August 3rd -- Thirty Years After PATCO

I have been searching for some words of wisdom to share on this day. I haven’t found any. The recent disaster of a Congressional bill to raise the debt ceiling has depressed me beyond belief. The ghost of Ronald Reagan haunts our profession still.

As I write this, 4,000 Federal Aviation employees are being held hostage by the very man that is supposed to advance aviation -- Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, John Mica. He is a small, loathsome man -- one that I have warned my readers about for many, many years.

If you are not familiar with his latest exploit, you can read about it at The Hill.

LaHood's effort fails to end FAA furloughs

”LaHood, in a marked shift from his earlier pronouncements on the FAA shutdown, tried to convince the Senate to accept a House version of a short-term funding bill for the agency.

With the House having adjourned for its August recess, LaHood said the Senate should take what it could get.”

Here we are, 30 years down the road from PATCO and no one will stand up for Labor. 30 years is a long time, folks. It is longer than most controller’s careers. And it has all been downhill for Labor. It would seem logical that we would ask ourselves when it is going to stop. And it would be just as logical to come up with the answer of “never”. Not until workers make it stop.

Make no mistake about it, unless rank-and-file workers are willing to stick their necks out, no politician will. There is no hero out there waiting to champion your cause. You have yourselves and that is it. Which leads me to the only thought I have for you today.

You need to find a leader. He or she needs to come from within your ranks. It is the most critical thing you can do right now. And once you find one, you need to follow them. This is the Achilles’ heel of controllers. We are all so independent that we don’t like to follow. Yet that is the only way our profession will ever have enough power to change your fortunes.

You have enough money. You have enough prestige. You have the collective intelligence. All that is missing is the leadership and the willingness to follow where they lead. This is the reason it is critical that you pick the correct leader. You want a John Leyden. You don’t want a Robert Poli.

One way you can tell who might be the leader you need would be to follow the situation currently unfolding. You have 4,000 fellow workers that aren’t getting a paycheck. Watch for who mounts an effective response. If controllers aren’t helping these people out, then controllers are fools and all is lost.

If you aren’t helping them out, then you are part of the problem. It’s just that simple. It’s called a “union” for a reason.

Don Brown
August 3, 2011

1 comment:

BC said...

We sounded the alarm 30 years ago at a time when Americans believed what their government told them. Organized labor lost that day and will one day be completely lost to the greed of business and politicians owned by business. Middle class America will be the ultimate looser.
Proud Patco Member. Chattanooga ATCT. BC