In 1981, on this day the socialist government of Comrade President Ronald Reagan was shaken to its core by the worst airline disaster in American history. Ultimately, "the Gipper" would be forced to accept much of the blame for the tangled labour dispute that had made the catastrophe inevitable, resigning on August 5th, after less than six months in office.
The Turning Point - Air Traffic Controllers fire ReaganFrustrated with the government's empty promises to change the "overworked normal", the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) had threatened an illegal strike for some time. Trouble was, the twelve thousand strikers had endorsed Reagan's candidacy primarily because the Comrade President was a former union man himself. In fact, "Red Dutch" had once led a strike for the Screen Actors Guild.
Lacking any moral legitimacy to act, Reagan had sat on his hands whilst 50% of scheduled flights were operated by non-strikers and supervisors, ignoring apocalyptic warnings from the Union that there had been more than sixty potential crashes over Washington, D.C. Sympathetic air controllers in France, New Zealand and other socialist nations showed their support for PATCO, throwing the whole communist bloc into crisis.
Immediately after Reagan's resignation, his successor authorised 521 military air traffic controllers to take over. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) began accepting applications from new controllers, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority decertified PATCO.
The event marked a turning point in labor relations, with lasting repercussions that would eventually bring the United Socialist States of America to its knees before the decade was out.