ANDREW L. "DREW" LEWIS JR.
The Secretary of Transportation penned his signature on this typed letter during the air
traffic comptrollers' strike
Typed Letter Signed: "Drew" as Secretary of Transportation, 1 page, 7x9. Washington,
D.C., 1981 October 19. On official letterhead to W. Ernst Minor, Member, Council on
Environment Quality, Washington, D.C. In Full: "Many thanks for your kind note. I am well
aware of the extensive political experience you possess, which makes me appreciate your comments
even more. We have run into some difficult situations, but I find myself enjoying the
responsibilities. Thanks again for writing, and I look forward to seeing you again soon. Sincerely".
By October 1981, the Reagan administration was clearly winning its battle with the air
traffic controllers' union (PATCO). That month, the Federal Labor Relations Authority
de-certified PATCO, and Lewis, who prior to the strike had offered some wage and hour
concessions to forestall it, was refusing even to meet with PATCO leader Robert Poli. The
public had shown little sympathy for the strike, and President Reagan's tough stand against it
had helped solidify his image as a strong leader. Ernst W. "Ernie" Minor was a former media
executive who served on the Nixon and Reagan campaigns and in those administrations.
Andrew L. "Drew" Lewis Jr. (1931-2016) worked for Ronald Reagan's 1980 general election
campaign for the Oval Office as the lead advocate in Pennsylvania. Once Reagan was elected,
he was named to Reagan's Cabinet as Secretary of Transportation (1981-1983). He faced
the air traffic controllers' strike, during which the President invoked the Taft-Hartley Act
and fired those controllers who refused an order to return to work. Lewis organized the effort
to recruit and quickly train enough new controllers to keep commercial aircraft flying.
After leaving government, Lewis worked at Warner Communications and then as CEO of the
Union Pacific Railroad (1985-1997). Horizontal fold at center. Otherwise, fine condition.