University of Texas Arlington

Professional Air Traffic Controllers, DFW Tower Group, Local 442 Records:

A Guide

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Professional Air Traffic Controllers. DFW Tower Group. Local 442.
Title: Professional Air Traffic Controllers, DFW Tower Group, Local 442 Records
Dates: 1971-1981
Abstract: Professional Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO), Local 442, was organized in 1973 when the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport began operation. It represented the air traffic controllers for that tower until the demise of PATCO in 1981. The stormy relationship between the national PATCO labor union and the federal government is reflected in the records of the PATCO/DFW Tower Group Local 442 as they were integrally involved in the events which transpired between 1973 and the PATCO demise of 1981.
Identification: AR294
Extent: 6 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries

Historical Note

Initially, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO) organized in Chicago in 1968 and moved their headquarters to Washington, D.C. PATCO Local 442 organized in 1973, when the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport began operation, representing air traffic controllers for the DFW Airport until PATCO lost its certification in 1981 as a result of an illegal nationwide strike of federally employed air traffic controllers. The stormy relationship between the national PATCO labor union and the federal government is reflected in the records of the PATCO DFW Tower Group Local 442 as they were integrally involved in the events which transpired between 1973 and the PATCO demise of 1981.

Scope and Contents

The PATCO/DFW Tower Group Records collection consists of all records from the Local 442 organization of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization at the Dallas-Ft.Worth Airport. The Local 442 Tower Group Records chart the tumultuous history of PATCO from its inception through its closing weeks in 1981. The bulk of the collection consists of weekly updates on the organization from PATCO national and regional offices. Other materials include personnel records involving scheduling, PATCO dues payments, elections, sick and vacation leave, retirement and termination, correspondence and consultations between management and employees, PATCO documents and newsbriefs on the national, regional and local levels. There are also meeting notices, minutes, financial records, and bulletin board memoranda. Also included are copies of grievances registered, legal decisions, IRS tax returns, and PATCO Constitution and by-laws.

Records contain safety reports, grievances, systems error reports, termination notices, unsatisfactory condition reports, bank statements, constitutions, correspondence, ballots and tally sheets, Executive Board minutes (1973-1981), labor-management meeting minutes (1976-1981), Local 442 minutes (1973-1980), financial records, membership lists, organization charts, resolutions, questionnaires, schedule logs, newsbriefs, arbitration material, petitions, dues records, newspaper articles, cassette tapes, photographs, and Unfair Labor Practices complaints.


Records consist of 94 folders arranged in 6 series.
Series I. DFW/FAA, 1971-1981 (40 folders)
Series II. PATCO Local 442 Tower Group, 1973-1981 (23 folders)
Series III. PATCO Southwest Region, 1976-1981 (19 folders)
Series IV. PATCO National, 1974-1981 (8 folders)
Series V. Government Documents, 1973-1980 (6 folders)
Series VI. Miscellaneous, 1976-1981 (6 folders)



Open for research.

Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (Washington, D.C.)--Records and correspondence.
Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization. DFW Tower Group. Local 442--Records and correspondence.
Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization. Southwest Region--Records and Correspondence.
Air traffic controllers--Labor unions--Texas--Dallas--History--Sources.
Air traffic controllers--Labor unions--Texas--Fort Worth--History--Sources.
Strikes and lockouts--Texas--History--Sources.
Labor unions--Texas--Dallas--History--Sources.
Dallas-Fort Worth Regiohnal Airport--History--Sources.
Air Traffic Controllers' Strike, U.S., 1981--Sources.
Alternate Titles
Texas Labor Archives

Separated Material

This collection contained materials in two areas which have been deaccessioned. The first group included ballots of four elections: PATCO Local 442 1979 election, the 1981 PATCO Convention Delegate election, the DFW Local 442 Officer's election (undated), and the Local 442 dues and schedule vote (also undated). Contained in the original materials were all ballots, signed authentication sheets, compilation forms and result tallies for each of the elections, which added considerable bulk to the PATCO materials. Therefore, the compilations, results, and sample ballots were retained, but the many individual ballots were deaccessioned.

The second group of materials concerned the DFW Personnel Termination files. The original materials contained a folder for each of fifty-one (51) employees. Inside each folder were identical, signed copies of four (4) termination-related documents: 1) Freedom of Information Act Request from PATCO Southwest Region employees; 2) a request for extension for time in which to file a written answer to the proposed action; 3) an "intent to delay action" letter on the part of the employee because of time-extension denial; and 4) a copy of the proposed termination.

Because of the duplicate nature of these materials, random samplings of the employee files were retained. In addition, a complete list of the fifty-one (51) employee's names was included in the folder entitled "Termination" located in box 2, folder 5, together with the retained samples. The remaining folders were deaccessioned.

Administrative Information


Professional Air Traffic Controllers, DFW Tower Group, Local 442 Records, AR294, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries.


Gift of Larry G. Humble, 1981.

Processing Information

The bulk of the collection consists of weekly "update" information on the organization from PATCO national and regional offices. These materials were distributed among the members and posted on bulletin boards for informational purposes, later to be filed in appropriately labeled folders. However, in processing the collection, a large group of these memoranda were found to be without folders and unfiled. A staff-archivist created folders for these materials using date and letterhead as the separating factor. These records may be located in box 4, folders 5 (non-PATCO letterhead memoranda), and 6 - 10 (PATCO Regional letterhead newsbriefs). The folders 1-8, box 5, contain original, undistributed Southwest Region memoranda packets as they were received by PATCO Local 442. All other folders in the collection retain their original contents; only their order has been rearranged according to the collection series.

Administrative Information

Grant Support

The retrospective updating and conversion of this finding aid was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Special Collections "Documenting Democracy: Access to Historical Records" project, 2014-2015.

Container List

Series I. DFW/FAA, 1971-1981

Box Folder
1 1 FAA Reprimand, 1978-1979
Employee replies to FAA reprimands relating to job performance.
2 FAA Safety, 1980
FAA safety reports concerning air traffic at DFW airport. Includes daily records of facility operations.
3-31 Grievances
FAA/DFW correspondence concerning grievance complaints registered by employees against management. These are filed by article number.
32 Parking Lot Arbitration, 1971-1976
Tower employee/DFW management arbitration concerning sufficient employee parking facilities.
33 Parking Lot Blueprints, undated
Blueprints of DFW parking lot built at DFW airport for Tower personnel.
Box Folder
2 1-3 System Errors, 1975-1977
Tower personnel reports of system errors in air safety for the years 1975-1977.
4 Terminal Switching System, 1980
Report from the attorney for the Bell System on the Terminal Communications Switching System equipment at DFW airport.
5 Termination Files, 1981
DFW files of PATCO personnel termination notices from FAA for the year 1981.
* Please see Notes to the Researcher, p. 5.
6 Termination Interviews, 1981
August, 1981 FAA interviews concerning termination of Tower employees.
7 Unsatisfactory Conditions Report, 1980
Report filed by Tower personnel regarding unsafe air traffic conditions at DFW airport.

Series II. PATCO: Local 442 Tower Group, 1973-1981

Box Folder
2 8 Area Bank Information, 1980
Information about area banks. Includes local dues agreement.
9-10 Bank Statements, 1976-1980
Monthly statements of accounts with First State Bank and National Savings and Trust.
11 Blank Forms, undated
Office forms, sample raffle tickets, letters for overtime turndown.
12 Constitution, 1978-1979
PATCO Local 442 Constitution.
13 Correspondence, 1973-1974
Letters of intent to run for PATCO office, campaign information, solicitations for charity involvement.
14-15 Elections, 1979, 1980
Two separate Local 442 elections from 1979 and 1980. Sample ballots, tally sheets, and compilations included.
*Please see Notes to the Researcher, p. 5.
16 Executive Board Meetings, 1973-1981
Minutes of PATCO executive board meetings, November 1973 through February 1981.
Box Folder
3 1-2 Financial Records, 1979
Treasurer receipts and bills paid, January 1979 through January 1980. Receipts and activity records, 1980.
3 Management Meetings, 1976-1981
PATCO Labor Management/DFW Tower meeting minutes, 1976-1981.
4 Membership Roll, 1975, 1977, 1980
DFW/PATCO membership roll. Includes personnel changes; articles 10 and 50.
5 Memorandum, 1976-1980
Seniority and vacation leave information and schedules.
6-7 Meeting Minutes, 1973-1980
Typed minutes of local PATCO meetings.
8 Meeting Notices, 1976, 1980
Posted notices of meetings. Includes agenda items and locations of meetings.
9 Organization Charts, 1974-1980
PATCO Local 442 organizational charts.
10-11 Questionnaires, undated
Local 442 contract negotiation and interest questionnaires. Includes blank samples.
12 Resolutions, 1980
Local 442 PATCO resolutions.
13 Roster, 1976-1979
DFW Tracon/PATCO roster.
14 Schedule Logs, 1979-1981
Local 442 schedule log copies.

Series III. PATCO: Southwest Region, 1976-1981

Box Folder
4 1 Correspondence, undated
Open campaign letters to PATCO voters, dues explanations, information concerning legal and practical application of existing policies.
2 FLSA, 1976-1978
Fair Labor Standards Act and Regional PATCO negotiations.
3-4 Grievances, 1977-1980, 1981
Labor grievances to be processed and labor grievances pending.
5 Memoranda: Non-PATCO Letterhead, 1980
Bulletin Board information concerning letters of intent to run for office, notices of interest-items for PATCO members, and letters of thanks/encouragement from other PATCO organizations, originally unfiled.
6-10 Newsbriefs, 1979-1980
Regional PATCO letterhead newsbriefs. Originally unfiled, these include subsistence fund and dues information, insurance, constitution, seminar, hearing, meetings, convention, and report briefs.
11 Retirement, 1981
Legal documentation and information concerning strike contingency plans, strike-related terminations, and retirement.
Box Folder
5 1-8 Southwest Region Memoranda, 1976-1981
PATCO Regional letterhead packets, originally filed by month. These undistributed packets contain resolutions, charity drive information, newspaper clippings, dress code explanations, and notices of employee vacancies and fillings.

Series IV. PATCO: National, 1974-1981

Box Folder
5 9 Arbitration, undated
Labor arbitration documents recording PATCO and FAA/Department of Transportation negotiations.
10 Constitution, 1974-1980
PATCO National constitution documents, reports, hearings, testimonies.
11 Convention, 1981
Convention delegate ballot sample and compilations of results.
12 Executive Board Petitions, 1975-1981
Includes national Executive Board decision H.R. 5870 concerning Second Career Training.
Box Folder
6 1 Federal Tax, undated
Federal and PATCO tax information.
2 Memoranda, 1980
Non-PATCO letterhead, July through December, 1980 concerning strike, national reactions to PATCO, and newsbriefs.
3 National Dues, 1975-1978
PATCO national dues. Includes monthly statements and cancelled check copies.
4 Standard Form 1187, 1976
Filed Membership Labor Dues Compensation Form 1187.

Series V. Government, 1973-1980

Box Folder
6 5 Department of Labor, 1980
Department of Labor Filing Rules, February 1980.
6 Executive Order 11491
Presidential Order concerning labor and management in Federal Service.
7 Internal Revenue Service, 1973-1980
PATCO IRS Tax Returns, 1973-1980.
8 Senators, undated
Senator/Representative information. Includes addresses and telephone numbers.
9 Unfair Labor Practice, 1976-1980
Unfair Labor Practice forms, filed complaints, and withdrawn requests.

Series VI. Miscellaneous, 1976-1981

Box Folder
6 10 Advertisements, 1980-1981
PATCO bulletin board advertisements.
11-12 Newspaper Articles, 1980
Articles follow PATCO/FAA negotiations March through December, 1980.
13 Tapes, 1976-1977
Audio-cassette tapes of PATCO meetings.
14 Texas DPS, undated
Texas Department of Public Safety Road Rules, exams, and answers.
15 Unidentified Snapshots, undated
Woman and man at table, party photographs.