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Author Topic: Member Interesting, Hair Raising, Humorous or Otherwise Unusual Experiences  (Read 4729 times)

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  • Administrator
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    • Renwable Revolution
Fri Aug 05, 2011 at 04:08 PM PDT.

30 Years Ago Today: The Day the Middle Class Died

Michael Moore

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, "When did this all begin, America's downward slide?" They say they've heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent's income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how "lowly" your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.

 Young people have heard of this mythical time -- but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, "When did this all end?", I say, "It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981."

 Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to "go for it" -- to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

 And they've succeeded.

On August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired every member of the air traffic controllers union (PATCO) who'd defied his order to return to work and declared their union illegal. They had been on strike for just two days.

 It was a bold and brash move. No one had ever tried it. What made it even bolder was that PATCO was one of only three unions that had endorsed Reagan for president! It sent a shock wave through workers across the country. If he would do this to the people who were with him, what would he do to us?

Full article at link:

Agelbert NOTE: The Strike was on August 3, 1981. Reagan gave them two days to get their asses back to work. Three air traffic controller guys at Syracuse did. The rest did not. At Syracuse TRACON (Tower/Radar Approach Control) we had a Tower chief and an assistant chief, a secretary, four staff (two data systems specialists - I was one of them) and two training instructors. We had 4 or five supervisors and about 20 air traffic controllers. Ninety percent left.

Those of us who stayed had to "get current" if we weren't working airplanes at that time. I did , along with the rest of the staff. We worked ten hour days, six days a week for a month and then ten hour days, 5 days a week for about two years. One guy who left couldn't take the pressure of leaving. He died of a heart attack at a mere 35 years of age leaving a wife and three children. He was a good man. He just couldn't say no to the coercion of the union.

The union had the brass to come to the tower to collect "blood money" donations from those of us who hadn't struck as if it was OUR fault and not theirs. So it goes. I was in the union, but I told Jeff Hall, the union rep, that I had signed a document when I hired on agreeing not to strike so that was that. He was not pleased.

Of course, I am certain he had absolutely nuttin' and nada to do with it but somehow some sand managed to get in my gasoline tank. Just a coincidence of course. I took my F150 super cab ford pickup to Courtesy Ford. They overhauled the engine for around $1,200.00 but 'forgot' to save an oil sample despite my specific request to do so (their mechanics were unionized and supported PATCO, but I'm certain there was no connection to that 'lapse of memory' that enabled my home owners insurance rep to give me the, sorry, no evidence of vandalism here. Have a nice day.

I said, but look, I got these piston sleeves from the mechanic that did the overhaul. LOOK at the scoring! I waved them at him. Sorry, only the oil sample is "acceptable" evidence.  ;D I wanted to throw them at him but I resisted the temptation to engage in a stupid bit of force that would not do my soul or my body (jail for sure!) any good. Of course I cancelled my homeowners on the spot. Don't get me started on the LAWS that allow Insurance companies to engage in highway robbery on a daily basis. 

Where was I? Oh yes, all that overtime was useful in paying Courtesy (PRO-UNION) Ford for the overhaul. After about 5 months, I fainted on position (clearance delivery) shortly after a conversation with a fine fellow air traffic controller member of the John Birch Society discussing, quite politely, of course, his views on minorities multiplying like rats and ruining the country.

You get a bit tired of that **** after a while. I had two kids (at least I THOUGHT they were mine) and promptly got a vasectomy. I had told this guy that. I was a dumb **** Republican then. But it DID NOT MATTER to this guy. I was one of THEM. 

I guess the work and stress (It gets old to drive by a bunch of fine fellows looking at you with daggers in their eyes  :P) got to me that day. These were people, some of which went to the same church as I did. So much for their Catholic faith.  :(

Anyway, I was taken to a doctor who prescribed some inderol (relaxes smooth muscle on blood vessel walls so your blood pressure cannot get too high BUT it HAS potential negative effects for your heart in the future - don't try to prove THAT in a court room. LOL!) and promised to DO ME THE BIG FAVOR of not putting it on my record so I would still be able to work airplanes. He was actually SCREWING me (and doing the Tower Chief a big favor by keeping a much needed warm body working airplanes come hell or high water  ;D) because a job related medical condition is a HUGE difference in pay between a non-job related (As in, no evidence of a medical condition, my good minority man, sorry. - That was ten years later when I was retired at 26% non-job related disability ;) instead of 75% because THAT IS THE LAW. My disability was job "aggravated" but not job "related". Ah, the pliability of the English language when TPTB want to DANCE away from acting responsibly.

Of course, there is NO PATTERN here. Just because it happened to little old me, doses not mean this is SYSTEMIC in our bureaucracy. Oh, no, not at all.  ;D

What I'm saying is that the deliberate demands of our rules, regulations and LAWS are set up so you need to have a cast iron paper trail or a lot of money when ever you want to get any sort of workmen's comp. All the tools to help the average Joe on the job have been steadily ERODED by legalese, fine print and boilerplate over the years.

It's all about promising you the moon and then not delivering it with some slight of hand which is all quite legal and clever. This has gotten worse and worse as the decades go by. As RE has said, our system is for the well to do, period. The rest of us are commodities without rights.

I survived, just barely. And I was one of the less than 10% of the 16,000 to 18,000 that STAYED and kept the air traffic control system functioning for the 3 to 4 years it took to train and season new air traffic controllers. No good deed goes unpunished and all that.      I pity the poor people working airplanes now. It's probably even more dog eat dog than it was then. 

Have a nice day.

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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