Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me to appear before the Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service to discuss Federal sector impasse procedures in light of the 1981 PATCO strike. The distinguished witnesses who follow me today will discuss the roles of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the Federal Service Impasses Panel in the resolution of Federal sector impasses generally and in the PATCOFAA situation specifically.
I would like today first to describe the role of the Federal Labor Relations Authority concerning the PATCO strike. Then i will draw on my thirty-five plus years of experience in dispute resolution, in private and public labor relations as well as other areas, to discuss generally the effectiveness of current Federal sector impasse procedures.
Congress has long made it clear that strikes in the Federal sector, such as the one that resulted from the PATCO-FAA bargaining impasse, are prohibited. The strongest expression of this is found in 18 U.S.C. §1918, originally enacted in 1955, which makes it a felony for any individual who accepts or holds a position in the Federal Government to participate in a strike against the United States government.
Incidentally, with respect to the PATCO situation, I understand that 62 of the some 12,000 employees who went on strike were charged with violating this provision. Of the 62 individuals charged, 5 were convicted after a jury trial; 26 pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminal contempt; 5 had their indictments dismissed; and 26 have charges pending. In 1970, in a strike involving about 150,000 postal employees, apparently no charges were filed under this provision.