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Explaining did the union use “fair” and “ethical” negotiation tactics?

Discuss about the Communication and Negotiation Skills for PATCO.

The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) was a Trade Union of United States that functioned from 1968 until its decertification in the year 1981, subsequent an illegitimate strike that was broken down by the then Reagan government. However, as per the viewpoint shared by the labor historian, Joseph A. McCartin, the 1981 strike as well as the conquer of PATCO was no doubt one of the major significant actions in the late 20th century, in the manual labor history of United States. History says that on 3rd August, 1981, the Union acknowledged a clout in demand of better functioning condition, enhanced payment and 32 hours work week. Apart from these, PATCO required to be properly disqualified from the civil service sections that it had long not accepted (Azzouz and Nandi 2013).

For doing this particularly, they desecrated 5 U.S.C., 118 p that forbids any kinds of strikes by the national government recruits. Standing at that point of time, Ronald Reagan announced the PATCO strike as the “peril to national safety”. Besides declaring this, he ordered the union to work under the terms and conditions of Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. However, it was seen that only 1300 of the almost 13,000 regulators arrived to their work following the order of Ronald Reagan (Sebeok and Umiker-Sebeok 2013). A declaration from Rose Garden of White House stated that all the employees at the time of oath declare that they would never participate in any smack against the Government of the United States or any organization. Remembering this oath, he ordered the remaining workers to return their job within 48 hours. He added that if they do not return to their job, their jobs would be forfeited (Bargiela-Chiappini, Nickerson and Planken 2013).

At this situation, Transportation Secretary, Drew Lewis prearranged for the immediate substitutes as well as started emergency tactics. Through prioritizing and cutting air travels harshly as well as taking on techniques of air traffic administration that once PATCO porched for, the administration originally able to have 50% of the obtainable flights. After 48 hours almost, when the remaining workers of PATCO refused to go back to their work, Ronald Reagan fired all the 11, 345 arresting air traffic regulators who had ignore his order. Apart from that, he at the same time banned them from federal services for their entire life (Thorson and Moore 2013). Standing at the point of situation, FAA was assigned the task to hire as well as train enough air traffic controllers in order to replace those that had been fired. It was no doubt one of the major problems for FAA to replace this huge number of employees. It took almost three years in usual circumstances to coach the employees. FAA at the initial level claimed that staffing levels would be re-established in two years, but in reality, it took approximately ten years before the general recruitment levels arrived to the standard phase (Chaney and Martin 2012).

Explaining whether responses of the government to the strike is fair and appropriate or not

However, it can be stated that the most significant and extremely contentious, domestic proposal was the dismissal of the air traffic regulators on 5th August, 1981. The leader raised the commandment that arresting the administration human resources forfeits their jobs, acts that disconcerted those who mockingly supposed no leader would ever support that rule. However, President Rogan Reagan succeeded and his act gave credence to the lawful right of private managers, previously not completely practiced in order to utilize their own carefulness to both employ and release human resources. In this part, it can be stated that the negotiation tactics were not justified at all. All the employees do have the right to form the Union and convey their opinions, problems or any other job related issue through this union to higher authority (Controllers et al. 2015).

No president is supposed to fire this huge number of employees because they called a strike. Both the parties could have negotiated and come to a mutual point, where both of their interests were valued. However, the reality was no so, as Reagan fired all the remaining employees within 48 hours of the strike. Before this incident, the Union Leader representative, Robert Poli spent several months attempting to negotiate a new labor management contract with FAA. However, FAA was interested at all to listen to the interests and demands of PATCO and thus they had to call a strike (Den Hartog et al. 2013).

Reports say that on August 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan started sacking 11359 air traffic regulators who were on strike and did not obey the order of Ronald Reagan. The executive act, observed as tremendous by many, considerably unhurried the air travel for several months. All the air traffic controllers complained of highly difficult working condition as well as lack of gratitude of pressures they face. Across the region, almost 7000 flights were cancelled and the president called this strike illegal. Apart from that, he announced and threatened to fire ant of the air traffic regulators who had not returned to employment within 48 hours. Robert Poli was found in disdain by a federal moderator and prearranged to pay $1000 a day in fines (Dozier, Grunig and Grunig, 2013).

On 5th August, 1981, the annoyed President Ronald Reagan carried out his risk and immediately the administration started sacking the 11359 air traffic controllers who had not returned to employment. Additionally, Reagan acknowledged the life time ban for all these employees on the rehiring of the strikes by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). On 17th August, FAA started accommodating submissions for the air-traffic regulators. After this incident, FAA on 22nd October decertified PATCO. Goal of the strike was to get an enhancement of $10,000 a year for the regulators, a condensed 32 hours four-day workweek as well as a improved reimbursement package for the sequestration. From these points, it is clearly understood that none of these demands are over in nature and the US government could have handled the situation in some other ways (Grunig 2013).

Identifying who was at fault in the negotiation

Being the president, he has the right to handle any kinds of strikes, but declaring lifetime forbid on the rehiring of the strikes by FAA was no doubt one of the harsh steps. It has been found that the representative of PATCO went for negotiation several times, but the result was not satisfactory. None of the interests of the employees was considered and this made them take the path of strike (Ulmer, Sellnow and Seeger 2013). Therefore, it can be stated that PATCO strike had become one of the essential events in roughly everyone understands of enormous rearrangement of class power in the United States in the previous few decades. History says that Alan Greenspan demonstrated the 1981 obliteration of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization as “perhaps most important” of all Reagan’s domestic accomplishments (Guffey and Loewy 2012).

Hamilton (2013) in his research work stated that Ronald Reagan not only altered his management through this step, but also formed the globe of contemporary place of work. More than any other employment disputes, Reagan’s disagreement with Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization destabilized the negotiating power of American employees as well as their labor unions. This incident significantly polarized political viewpoints in ways that put off people from addressing the origin of the monetary tribulations (Williams and Nussbaum 2013). This was the long-lasting stagnation of the profits in spite of increasing commercial profits and efficiency of the workers. However, it is required to mention that US law, as the air traffic regulators were the human resources of the national supervision and they were not allowed to call for any strikes officially permitted Reagan’s dealings. In terms of instance, however, the actions of Reagan were unsympathetic enough (Knapp, Hall and Horgan, 2013).

History says that Robert Poli, the Union Leader Representative of Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization had spent several months hoping to negotiate a new labor management contract with Federal Aviation Authority or FAA in the United States. The far-reaching crowd sacking of these central employees sluggish profitable air travel, but it did not cripple the systems, as the persons on strike had predict. After analyzing the entire situation more clearly, it can be said that both the parties were responsible to some extent for this incident. If focus is shed on the workers under Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, it can be seen that they hunted an across-the-board yearly remuneration increase of $10,000 for the regulators, whose pay varied from $20,462 to $49,229 per year. On behalf of the employees, Robert Poli as well wanted a lessening of their five day, 40 hour work week to a four day, 32 hour work week. In response to this situation, the Federal Aviation Authority or FAA made a $40 million counteroffer, far small of the $770 million package that the union required (Lax and Sebenius 2013).

However, Reagan identified this beat as against the law and threatened to fire any controller who botched to return to work within 48 hours after his warning. Not only have that, Federal courted levied fines of $1 million per day next to the union. However, it is necessary to mention that Regan confirmed a life span forbid on the rehiring of these strikers by the Federal Aviation Authority or FAA and this was too harsh. Declaring the strike illegal is justified to some extent, as the employees or the air traffic controllers of Federal Aviation Authority or FAA take oath not to engage in any sort of political action against the government. In this case, a clear negotiation breakdown was observed and both the parties were responsible for that (Lee and Gu 2013).

However, many social analysts have identified the employees as faultier and on the other hand; some accuse Ronald Reagan for this major domestic violence. Both these parties are responsible from different point of view and thus it is tough enough to identify one as the reason of this negotiation breakdown. The responsible management moved so quickly in order to use some other tools at its disposal. At that point of time, criminal charges were prepared for bringing the cases against the union leaders. On the other hand to this situation, court processing started to force the strikers back to their work. Meanwhile, the funds of the Union were confiscated by the court order. The Union was instructed to shell out a fine for each day associates kept on strike. At the same time, FBI agents composed a clear list of the strikers, so that they can take the actions properly. The responsible administrator as well filed a appeal asking for declaration of the union (Lolli 2013).

Until sufficient substitutes for the fired human resources could be employed and educated, the FAA sustained to replace air traffic regulators with the non-striking regulators, administrators and the military controllers. In this part, it is required to mention that although the striking air traffic controllers unsuccessful to accomplish their targeted objectives and lost their jobs in the overall process, PATCO president Robert Poli later argued two wins for the union (McCartin 2014).

After discussing this situation, I have understood that there could have been some other procedures and tactics to deal with this situation. Lack of communication and negotiation skills have been noticed in this case and lead the situation to the drastic level. There was lack of effective communication, as the oath taken by the air traffic controllers failed to build employee morale and reduce grievances. Mujtaba (2013) has stated that effective communication assists employees to understand expectations of the employment and creates commitment and loyalty. On the other hand to effective communication, ineffective communication leads to the damaged work relationships. At the same time, it decreases trust between the employer and the employees. After going through the situation, it can be stated that there were lack of efficient communication between the members of PATCO and FAA and this gave birth to one of the major labor movements in the U.S. history. Perhaps many social researchers have over simplified the legacy of the 1981 strike by 13,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (Ng and Tan 2013).

Perhaps the American Labor Movement was already in declining state and the ramifications of the President Ronald Reagan’s move to replace those striking employees only exacerbated that decline. However, when I look back into the details of this event that have several opinions, led to the crippling of the American Labor movement, as well as the loss of the American Manufacturing base, I all the time consider the PATCO strike as the defining moment. When the air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, they were striving to get shorter work weeks and higher pay (Schor et al. 2016). There was a law in place that forbids the union of the public employees from striking. It was belief of that time that the economy of that country would not be able to withstand the loss of the commercial flights and that their strikers would be brief as well as successful. I have understood that aftermath of this strike had forever changed the situation of the organized labor situation in America. This at the same time changed and titled the playing fields to favor management in union negotiations (Perloff 2013).

If focus is shed on d distributive and integrative bargaining, then it can be seen that the 1981 Air Traffic Controllers Strike was a distributive negotiation. The reason behind this situation is that distributive bargaining ends up in a win-lose situation, where some parties at some point of advantages win and the other party lose out. Here, the air traffic controllers under the Union lost their turn and the US President Ronald Reagan won. Another reason to consider this incident as distributive bargaining procedure is that distributive bargaining is highly competitive in nature and considers each party as the competitor (Reagan fires 2016). In this case, Representative of PATCO went to FAA several times for negotiation and bargaining, however, FAA was not at all ready to consider the interests of the workers. The conflict resolution procedure could have been in some other ways, where the interests of both the parties were kept. However, there some faults in conflict resolution that gave birth of this drastic situation in the labor union history throughout the globe (Rosemann and vom Brocke 2015).

As per my viewpoint, the government could have been less hard towards the employees, as the employees have the right to speak up against the government, if they feel that their interests are not taken care of properly. On the other hand to the government, it can be stated that the Labor’s Union, i.e. PATCO could have asked for some other requirements. They could have asked for 36 hours workweek instead of 40. However, it is required to mention here that there were communication gap between both the parties and thus the situation was worst.


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