Labor: Grounded

No more than two decades ago, the grounding of all the commercial flights in the U.S. would have caused hardly a ripple in the nation's transportation pattern. Last week the U.S. discovered just how dependent it has become on the airplane, which now crisscrosses the U.S. over hundreds of routes that form a tightly knit skein, carrying more than 94 million passengers in a year—more than intercity trains and buses combined. In the biggest airline strike in the nation's history—the last one of any size was in 1961—the International Association of Machinists...

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