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I'm an Australian so I don't understand what this means in the following quotation:

Painting by numbers, Scott Walker, following Reagan's first stroke, took on labour. But Walker's Patco moment (the busting of the Air Traffic Controller's union) has proved an overreach.

As requested, here is a link to the original article.

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btw, I have tried Google with no clarity – xiaohouzi79 Feb 23 '11 at 0:10
Can you either link to the original article, or (if it's not online), provide a little bit more context? – Marthaª Feb 23 '11 at 1:01
@Martha - Done! – xiaohouzi79 Feb 23 '11 at 1:26
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I've managed to find my answer in this wikipedia article.

PATCO = Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization

The Patco moment appears to be when:

Reagan demanded those remaining on strike return to work within 48 hours, otherwise their jobs would be forfeited. On August 5, following the PATCO workers' refusal to return to work, Reagan fired the 11,345 striking air traffic controllers who had ignored the order, and banned them from federal service for life

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As the others have established, PATCO is a labor union for air traffic controllers. Reagan fired everyone, essentially breaking the union. So in this context "a PATCO moment" is a situation which is similar to what Reagan did to that union. It looks like Scott Walker has busted or is attempting to bust up a union

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Basing on the context, I would suppose that Patco is simply the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization.

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