University of Texas Arlington

Arthur B. Shostak Collection:

A Guide

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Shostak, Arthur B., 1937-
Title: Arthur B. Shostak Collection
Dates: 1974-1992
Abstract: Correspondence, personal notes, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, union and government publications, interviews, reports and research papers of Arthur B. Shostak, Professor of Sociology at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa. The bulk of the collection, which focuses on the PATCO strike of 1981 and was used as research material for his book, is comprised of hand-written notes as well as personal correspondence in the form of notes and letters; publications from four labor unions; several governmental entities as well as interviews of former controllers; and reports and research papers relating to air traffic control issues. Shostak, born May 11, 1937, in Brooklyn, New York, earned his Ph.D. in Industrial Sociology at Princeton in 1961. He has written and edited several books and contributed numerous articles on working-class issues, as well as serving as consultant to several labor unions. His book, The Air Controllers' Controversy-Lessons from the Patco Strike (New York: Human Services Press, 1986), is recognized as a major work in the area of labor relations.
Identification: AR374
Extent: 4.0 linear ft.
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Biographical Note

Arthur B. Shostak was born May 11, 1937 in Brooklyn, New York. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in 1958 and a Ph.D. in Industrial Sociology at Princeton University in 1961. Dr. Shostak is a Professor of Sociology at Drexel University where he teaches courses in industrial sociology, management and technology, futuristic and social implications of twentieth century technology. He also teaches as an adjunct sociologist at the AFL-CIO George Meany Center for Labor Studies, Silver Spring, Maryland. Dr. Shostak is co-editor of Blue-Collar World, (Prentice Hall, 1965); New Perspectives on Poverty, (Prentice Hall, 1968); Privilege in America: An End to Inequality?, (Prentice Hall, 1970).

In addition, he is author of Blue-Collar Life, (Random House, 1969) and Blue-Collar Stress, (Addison-Wesley, 1980). He has contributed many chapters to volumes on working-class issues. He is a consultant on futuristics to the AFL-CIO Council of Union Secretary-Treasurers and has taught for District 65 RWDU-AFL-CIO; The Steelworkers Union (Lindenhall Education Center); The Postal Workers Union; and others.

His book, The Air Controllers' Controversy-Lessons from the PATCO Strike, (Human Services Press, 1986), which he co-authored with David Skocik, an air traffic controller at New York's La Guardia airport from 1977 to 1981 and a former public relations officer for PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers organization), was based largely on the material in this collection.


  • Shostak, Arthur. The Air Controllers' Controversy-Lessons from the PATCO Strike. New York: Human Services Press, 1986.
  • May, Hal, ed., Contemporary Authors. Vol. 108. Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1983.

Scope and Contents

The collection, in ten legal-size document boxes, is composed of research materials collected by Dr. Arthur B Shostak, much of which was used in writing his book, The Air Controllers' Controversy-Lessons from the PATCO Strike. Included are personal notes and correspondence, newspaper and magazine articles, various union and government publications, and various types of research material dating from 1974-1992.

The collection is organized into four series. The first series is the Personal Notes and Correspondence files, arranged chronologically, and consist of hand-written notes made by Dr. Shostak while conducting research for his book, as well as letters and notes received from various universities, labor unions, and individuals. This material covers the years 1980-1991. The second series is the Newspaper and Magazine Articles Files, also arranged chronologically, and consists of material relating to air traffic control issues, with emphasis on The Professional Air Traffic Controller's Organization (PATCO) strike of 1981 and the subsequent after effects to the commercial aviation industry. The newspaper clippings are taken from various papers from across the country and the magazine articles are taken from both industrial/trade magazines as well as popular magazines such as Time. The material covers the years 1970-1991, the bulk being 1981-1989. The majority of this material was used in preparation of the book.

The third series is the Publications File, arrannged by the particular union or government entity. In the union publications are PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controller's Organization); NATCA (National Air Traffic Controller's Association); USATCO (United States Air Traffic Controller's Organization); MEBA (Marine Engineer's Beneficial Association), along with the AFL-CIO. All of this material relates to labor issues. In the government publications are the GAO (United States General Accounting Office); DOT (United States Department of Transportation); FAA (Federal Aviation Administration); and the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, House of Representatives. This material relates to air traffic control issues, and covers the years 1970-1992. The last series is the Research Material Files, which were arranged alphabetically; by author, title or location. This series consists of interviews, reports, research papers, book excerpts, case studies and a roster of air traffic controllers. The interviews involved former air traffic controllers and date from spring of 1984 to October of 1985. The reports relate to the then current state of the air traffic control industry. The research papers were produced by Master's candidates, Ph.D.s' and other researchers and relate to the subject of air traffic control as well as numerous aspects of commercial aviation. The book excerpts are from Dr. Shostak's book, The Air Controllers' Controversy-Lessons from the PATCO Strike, and another book, PATCO's Legacy, also by Dr. Shostak.

In addition, there is an article published in The University of Chicago Law Review entitled, Public Employee Strikes, Executive Discretion, and the Air Traffic Controllers, BY Bernard D. Meltzer and Cass R. Sumstein. The case studies contain information on labor unions as well as numerous clinical studies of air traffic controllers. The final item is a computer print-out of a roster of air traffic controllers.

The Arthur B. Shostak Collection will be of particular benefit to those involved in researching labor history. The union publications, particularly those of PATCO and NATCA, are quite extensive and may provide the researcher with valuable insight into union objectives under the Reagan Administration and help to show a change in policies and practices. The government publications will also prove valuable as they will provide a balance to the union material and show what paths these agencies took in response to union behavior.


The Arthur B. Shostak Collection is organized in four series. The material in each series and the series order were decided by the processor.
Series I. Personal Notes/Correspondence, 1980-1991 (0.5 linear ft. (1 document box))
Series II. Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1974-1991 (1 linear ft. (2 document boxes))
Series III. Publications, ca. 1980-1989 (2 linear ft. (4 document boxes))
Series IV. Research Material, ca. 1982-1987 (1.5 linear ft. (3 document boxes))



Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.

Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Shostak, Arthur. B., 1937--Archives.
Air Traffic Controllers' Strike, U.S., 1981.
Air traffic control--United States.
Air traffic controllers--United States.
Alternate Titles
Texas Labor Archives

Separated Material

Duplicated material in this collection was discarded.

Administrative Information


Arthur B. Shostak Collection, AR374, Box Number, Folder Number, The University of Texas at Arlington Library Special Collections.


The Arthur B. Shostak Collection was a gift to The University of Texas at Arlington. Jane Boley of Special Collections negotiated the receipt of this collection. The university received this material April 7, 1993.

Processing Information

Finding aid prepared by John C. Konzal, May 1995.

Note to the Researcher

A special note regarding the air traffic controller roster contained in series four. Whenever possible, an attempt was made to place it in alphabetical order. However, since the roster was not printed in perfect alphabetical order, it was not always possible to do so. Also concerning the rest of the material in series four. Arrangement was by author, title, or location; in the case of multiple authors, the first author's last name was used. The interviews were arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the subject. When the interview did not list the subject's name, the location of the interview was used (ie, New Mexico, New England, etc.).

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I. Personal Notes/Correspondence, 1980-1991
0.5 linear ft. (1 box)

Personal notes and correspondence used largely in research of book. Arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
1 1 Personal Notes, 1980-1991
2 Personal Notes, 1980-1991
3 Personal Notes, 1980-1991
4 Personal Notes, 1980-1991
5 Correspondence, 1980-1991
Letters, notes and memos received by Dr. Shostak.

Series II. Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1974-1991
1 linear ft. (2 boxes)

Newspaper clippings and magazine articles used as research material. Arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
2 1 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1974-1980.
2 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1980-1981
3 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1981
4 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1981
5 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1981
6 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1981-1983
7 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1983-1985
8 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1985-1986
9 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1986
10 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1986
11 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1986-1987
Box Folder
3 1 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1987
2 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1987
3 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1987-1988
4 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1988
5 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1988-1989
6 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1989
7 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1989-1990
8 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1990-1991
9 Newspapers/Magazine Articles, 1991

Series III. Publications, ca.1980-1989
2 linear ft. (4 boxes)

Various union and government publications also used as research material. Arranged by union and government entity.
Box Folder
4 1 PATCO Publications, ca. 1981-1988
Publications of PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) during the period of the 1981 air traffic controllers strike.
2 PATCO Publications, 1986-ca. 1988
3 PATCO Publications, 1981-1985
4 PATCO Publications, 1981-1987
5 PATCO Publications, 1981
6 PATCO Publications, 1981
7 PATCO Publications, 1981
8 PATCO Publications, 1981
9 NATCA Publications, ca. 1987
Publications of NATCA (National Air Traffic Controllers Association). This was the union organization which replaced PATCO. Material relates to union matters.
10 NATCA Publications, ca. 1987
11 NATCA Publications, ca. 1987
12 NATCA Publications, ca. 1987
Box Folder
5 1 NATCA Publications, ca. 1987
2 USATCO Publications, ca. 1983
Publications of USATCO (United States Air Traffic Controllers Organization). Material relates to labor matters.
3 G.A.O. Publications, 1986-1987
Publications from the United States Government Accounting Office relating to the subject of air traffic control.
4 G.A.O. Publications, 1988-1989
5 G.A.O. Publications, 1989-1990
6 G.A.O. Publications, 1990-1991
7 G.A.O. Publications, 1991-1992
8 D.O.T. Publications, 1970-1986
Publications from the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, relating to aviation safety standards.
9 Legal Publications, 1985-1989
Material relates to restructuring of air traffic control system following 1981 strike. Also includes safety issues and grievances.
10 Legal Publications, 1985-1986
11 Legal Publications, 1986-1989
6 Item number one. Book: Air Traffic Controller Health Change Study, December, 1978.
A study conducted to determine the nature and extent of health changes in the air traffic controllers and by what characteristics these changes can be predicted.
Item number two. Book: National Airspace System Plan, April, 1987.
A publication of the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, which is a study of facilities, equipment, associated development, and other capital needs.
Item number three. Journal: The Journal of Air Traffic Control, published January-March, 1982,
which relates to air traffic control issues.
7 Items number one through six. Six pamphlets (one in book form), 1983-1989.
These consist of reports and hearings conducted by the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, House of Representatives, relating to air traffic control issues.

Series IV. Research Material, ca.1982-1987
1.5 linear ft. (3 boxes)

Research material derived from personal interviews, reports, and research papers. Arranged by author, title, subject and location.
Box Folder
8 1 Interviews, 1984-1986.
Interviews with former air traffic controllers fired during the 1981 controller's strike; includes their views and outlook for the future.
2 Reports, 1970-1982.
Results of numerous studies relating to air traffic control.
3 Reports, 1981-1984
4 Reports, 1982
5 Reports, 1983-1987
6 Reports, 1982-1986
Box Folder
9 1 Research Papers, 1984-1990.
Material relating to the study of air traffic control.
2 Research Papers, 1984-1987
3 Research Papers, 1987-1989
4 Research Papers, 1980-1986
5 Book Excerpts, ca. 1986.
Various excerpts from books and journals; primarily from Dr. Shostak's book, The Air Controllers' Controversy-Lessons from the PATCO Strike; PATCO'S Legacy, also by Dr. Shostak. In addition, there are excerpts from various trade publications.
6 Book Excerpts, ca. 1986
7 Book Excerpts, ca. 1983
8 Book Excerpts, ca. 1986
9 Book Excerpts, ca. 1986
10 Book Excerpts, ca. 1986
Box Folder
10 1 Book Excerpts, Same as Above, ca. 1986
2 Case Studies, 1983-1987.
Various studies relating to air traffic control and the aviation industry; including, but not limited to, studies of strikes; specifically the 1981 PATCO strike.
3 Roster, ca. 1985.
A roster of former air traffic controllers.
4 Roster, ca. 1985
5 Roster, ca. 1985
6 Roster, ca. 1985