One might ask: what do Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, Scott Walker and Chris Christie have in common? The most obvious answer is that they all are (or were) Republican Governors, but these four men have something much deeper in common. All four have faced-off against powerful public sector labor unions and won. This paper will address and examine the similarities between the anti-union actions taken by these men— Coolidge and the Boston Police Strike of 1919, Reagan and the Professional Air Traffic Controllers (“PATCO”) Strike of 1981, and Walker and Christie’s recent dealings with public employee unions. In the end, the reader will view the work of these political figures as an inspirational passing of the torch between political eras. This paper will also briefly look ahead and discuss where this new wave of government-union interaction might lead public sector labor relations in the future.
Bryan J. Soukup, From Coolidge to Christie: Historical Antecedents of Current Government Officials Dealing with Public Sector Labor Unions, 64 Lab. L.J. 177 (2013).