The Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization illegally fired four of its employes who tried to form a staff union in 1980, a National Labor Relations Board judge has ruled.
NLRB administrative law judge Bruce C. Nasdor said the PATCO staffers "were terminated solely for their union and concerted activities" and should be rehired and awarded back pay.
But James Lyons, James Miller, Fran Feldman and Steven Hubscher--the plaintiffs--have no PATCO jobs to return to, largely because of government actions stemming from the union's illegal nationwide strike that began Aug. 3.
Since then, PATCO has been stripped of its legal standing as a union and forced into bankruptcy with $150 million in fines and other penalties. Some 11,438 PATCO members have lost jobs, and the union's top leaders, former PATCO president Robert E. Poli and executive vice president Robert Meyer, have resigned.
Nasdor's order contained no instructions or advice on how the four former PATCO workers could recoup their losses.
"These cases take so long, any number of things change" in the interim, said a recent PATCO official, who requested anonymity. The official said the four now "will have to stand in line with everyone else" waiting to collect damages.