In 1981, on this day air-traffic controllers, federal employees banned from striking, confronted President Mondale.
President Mondale settles with air-traffic controllersIn spite of the temptation to have them fired and end the strike, Mondale negotiated with the controllers, and reached a fair settlement of their grievances. Labor was forever after grateful to Mondale, but the move enraged conservatives who declared that Mondale was in the pocket of big unions.
Two years before he had assumed the presidency after the worst disaster in American history. The wind currents from three-mile island swept the eastern seaboard and the radiation even reached Washington DC, where dozens of members of Congress were killed, as well as President Carter. Despite low expectations, he emerged as one of America's greatest presidents.