Discuss the political and economic implications of the air controllers’ decision to conduct an illegal strike, and the decision of President Reagan to terminate them.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There were numerous political and economic implications of the PATCO strike.

First, looking at the economic implications, we can see that there were implications both for the airlines and for the PATCO members themselves.  The airlines, at least temporarily, lost a great deal of money.  They lost the money because the strike disrupted their ability to make their product (air travel).  This led to a situation in which fewer members of the public paid the airlines for tickets.  This was harmful to the airlines.  However, the strike was much more devastating to the union members.  All of those who went out on strike and stayed out lost the ability to work as air traffic controllers for life.

Politically, this was a major step in pushing the United States in a much more conservative direction on the issue of labor unions.  PATCO did not gain much sympathy from the general public.  Instead, President Reagan came out looking like a strong, decisive leader who did what was best for the country.  This helped to increase Reagan’s popularity and to tarnish the image of labor unions.