Type of paper: Research Paper
Following the dramatic surge in commercial airline after World War II (1939-45), there was an establishment of Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), only later to be renamed to as the Federal Aviation Administration. The agency was entrusted with many responsibilities concerning air travel in the US. They were responsible for all operations concerning the US airport. This included the control of both military and civil use of US airspace for the sake of efficiency and safety. To fulfill its responsibility FAA came up with a networker of towers to control the airport. They also came up with 20 air route control centers well spaced all over the nation to enable them meet their responsibility. (Willis, J.1999)
The controllers who manned the tower could control all operations from landing of the planes to the taking off by use of radar system and verbally communicating with pilots. There was a steady growth in the industry which subjected the workers to dire stress, since they controlled numerous airlines having thousands of passengers aboard in a sky which was already clouded. The surging demand of airport operation services which called for absolute attention of the stuff resulted to them working for long hours to meet the increasing demands (McCartin, J.2006). Actually this provoked them to raise an alarm to the employer to increase their salary, reduce their working hours to 32-hour working week and also improve their working conditions. They also called for installation of new operating systems since the present machines were outdated and forced them to strain a lot to meet the services required of them.
The Act of Airline deregulation which was proposed and accepted in 1978 resulted to the approval of new carriers, limitation in air routes and setting of ticket prices. (Belk, 2004) This was a major breakthrough to so many new airliners who wee looking for such an opportunity. An increase in new airlines as a result of the permission granted to new carriers and limitation in air routes was noted in a control system which was already full to the bream with airline operations. More and more new airlines jetted into the already approved control system to maximize the overwhelming opportunity which most airlines must have been looking for.
Surging tight airline schedules as result of increased new airlines and limitation in air routes brought the workers under intense pressure resulting to FAA recruiting not less than 16000 before the end of 1970s in an effort to curb the situation which was seemingly getting out of hand(Fantasia,R.2004). The efforts of the agency were futile since they did not bear any positive result in the solving of the problem. Ultimately the working conditions worsened off.
In August 1981 11000 of the air traffic control workers downed their tools in protest of poor working conditions, poor payment and stressful working conditions. Professional Air Traffic Controller Organization (PATCO) which was the workers union had came up with the objective for the workers to down their tools in search for an improvement in the working conditions. This was highly prohibited in the US federal services. .In US public employees were not permitted to participate in any strike since it was against a law which had been passed in 1955(Willis,J 1999).The strike signaled danger to the nation and the international trade concerning the economy. The strike was threatening the economy of US, which would subsequently affect economy of other regions of the world.
The then president Ronald Reagan gave out an order that required all the striking controllers to resume job within 48 hours or else they forfeit their job. Some worker agreed to resume job while the majority remained adamant. They rejected and ignored the president’s order for them to resume worker and they were all fired, and banned from participating from any federal service with their union PATCO decertified. The union had empowered the workers to go on strike while knowing that it was quite against the law. The workers on the other hand refused to honor the orders given by the man who had the power to terminate their career.(McCartin,J.2006) The president had the responsibility to exercise his power of withholding what the government had already accepted and passed as a law.
This resulted to quick impositions of new restrictions concerning air traffic flow in the US so as to put the situation under control. There was reduction of flight operations by one third to ease demand on the overloaded centres and also to meet public fear pertaining safety. Former employees who were retired from air traffic control were called back to service in an effort to meet the surging need of experienced controllers in areas with acute shortage of personnel. Staff personnel, supervisors, nonparticipant controllers, nonrated personal and controllers from other facilities were called in to assist the overwhelming situation. Also military personnel were called to assist as replacements were being trained.
There was a significant decline in airline operations due to acute shortage of fully experienced and skilled air traffic controllers. Increasing the number of full performance of level controllers was quite a task since most of the workers who were not fired moved up to levels of management while other so it good for them to retire to circumvent the stressful work conditions.
In 1984 major disruptions occurred in the airport industry. (Willis, J.1999) There was a flight delay resulting from controller facilities which were undermanned. Outdated facilities which existed in the airline control were costing the company a lot. Major airports such as Chicago and New York experienced frequent traffic bottlenecks which resulted to flight disruptions across the whole nation.
It was the pledge of FAA to modernize the air traffic control system after the firing of the workers. National Airspace System Plan was developed by the agency which had an estimated budget of around 16 billion dollars to implement the place. Though new hardware’s were installed by 1990 the system still required such a great improvement for it remained partially updated. (Belk, 2004)
A difficult hurdle it was, in the aftermath of the strike for new airline seeking to establish themselves into the larger market since restrictions concerning rebuilding air traffic control had been put in place. People’s views were given, some arguing that it would have been less disruptive and costly for the agency to give the controllers what they demanded than to cause such a great havoc of throwing the transport into chaos. On the other hand, others believed that the president was absolutely right to uphold the government hand pertaining forbidden strike to public workers.
Repercussions of the dire strike of 1981 where a mass of workers were fired significantly affected the US labor market (Early, 2006). The message sent by Reagan action to the private sector was that the replacement of striking was practical and highly acceptable.
When the president dismissed the striking air traffic controllers and demanded the recruitment of new and permanent replacements, he proved to the world that nothing was more important than doing away with a union that was inciting worker against the constitution of the US, the safety of air traffic not withstanding. To the cooperate world he made it vivid that thumbing noses to the workers obligations was not a great deal.
This was highly unacceptable, utterly unethical and absolutely against the rights of the workers. Every worker has a right to good working environment and he or she has a social right to fight for that which will satisfactorily meet his or her obligations. Just because they had totally voted to hold fast for benefits and fair pay which is a social responsibility of the company to make certain thy operate at the benefit of the society, the workers been part of the society.
Reagan clearly proved to the world that no one was indispensable, no matter their knowledge, expertise, skills, or their commitment. (McCartin, J.2006) Actually this stole the security of the workers and absolutely terrified them. The terrified workers were not allowed to push for their rights in the fear that they will be fired which is quite unethical
On the other hand it was the social responsibility of the company to offer services to the public for the welfare of the society without maximizing on profit making only. At the same time, according to ethics it was the role of the president to uphold the laws of the country therefore firing of the 11000 air traffic workers. He could not overlook the staggering issue at hand at the expense of his role of improving the welfare of his nations economy which was been threatened by the strike. A man who was just crazy to leave a legacy behind his name which he successfully did couldn’t compromise the ethical position of his duty.