Past Event

The Strike that Changed America: A Conversation with Labor Historian Joseph McCartin

Joe McCartin’s acclaimed new book, Collision Course, is considered the definitive account of the 1981 Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO). The book details two decades of struggle by PATCO workers culminating in the failed strike. Join us for a conversation and book signing with Dr. McCartin about the strike that changed America. 
“The Air Traffic Controllers strike of 1981 was one of the most important struggles in American history, and by breaking the union, Ronald Reagan dealt a blow to organized labor from which it has still not recovered. If you care about the labor movement, you need to read Collision Course and even if you don’t, you’ll be transfixed by the drama of McCartin’s story-telling.” –E.J. Dionne

“Joseph McCartin tells the [PATCO] story in gripping detail. It’s must reading for anyone interested in the recent history of American politics and labor relations.” –John B. Judis, Senior Editor, The New Republic

Dr. McCartin is an Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University, and the Executive Director of the university’s new Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor. He is a member of Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice and serves ont he advisory board of the journal, Labor: Studies in the Working-Class History of the Americas. Dr. McCartin is also a member of the Interfaith Worker Justice National Board. 

Hosted by Interfaith Worker Justice and co-sponsored by The Public Square, Labor: Studies in Working-Class Histories of the Americas, and Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies. 

Free and open to the public. For more information please call 312.422.5580.

If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit