Episode 958: When Reagan Broke the Unions : Planet Money When air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, Reagan gave them 48 hours to return. Labor would never be the same. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
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Episode 958: When Reagan Broke the Unions

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Episode 958: When Reagan Broke the Unions

Episode 958: When Reagan Broke the Unions

Episode 958: When Reagan Broke the Unions

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/788002965/789603994" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Ron Palmer's Ford Pinto Van – he rode it to the picket lines during the strike. Courtesy of Ron Palmer hide caption

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Courtesy of Ron Palmer

Ron Palmer's Ford Pinto Van – he rode it to the picket lines during the strike.

Courtesy of Ron Palmer

On August 3, 1981, air traffic controllers all over the United States went on strike, threatening to shut down the skies and paralyze the country. But then President Reagan fired them.

This is the story of the most important strike in recent U.S. history, a strike that changed the trajectory of American labor.

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