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Prof'l Air Traffic Controllers Org. v. Fed. Labor Relations Auth. - 222 U.S. App. D.C. 97, 685 F.2d 547 (1982)


A person who participates in a strike against the government is prohibited from accepting or holding a position in the federal government, pursuant to 5 U.S.C.S. § 7311(2), and violation of this section is a criminal offense, pursuant to 18 U.S.C.S. § 1918(3). Newly hired federal employees are required to execute an affidavit attesting that they have not struck and will not strike against the government. In addition, since the inception of formal collective bargaining between federal employee unions and the federal government, unions have been required to disavow the strike as an economic weapon. Since 1969, striking by federal employee unions or employees has been expressly designated a union unfair labor practice.


After the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) called a nationwide strike of air traffic controllers against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the summer of 1981, Respondent Federal Labor Relations Authority concluded that PATCO had committed unfair labor practices by striking in violation of the Civil Service Reform Act and entered an order revoking PATCO's status as exclusive bargaining representative for the controllers. Petitioner PATCO sought judicial review of Respondent’s order.


Did the Federal Labor Relations Authority have the authority to revoke the status of PATCO  as an exclusive bargaining representative of its union members?




The court affirmed the Authority's order and denied the petition for review, holding that the evidence substantially supported the finding that PATCO had engaged in an illegal strike against the government and finding that there had been no impropriety in the proceedings requiring vacation of the revocation order. Under the Civil Service Reform Act, 5 U.S.C.S. § 7120(f), the Federal Labor Relations Authority shall revoke the exclusive recognition status of a recognized union, or take any other appropriate disciplinary action against any labor organization, where it is found that the union has called, participated in, or condoned a strike, work stoppage, or slowdown against a federal agency in a labor-management dispute.

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