Mr. Moffett, who had worked with the Union since 1970, was not surprised by Reagan’s defiance.
“He thought the government and the country could not exist without his acting,” Mr. Moffett said when Professor McCartin, who teaches history at Georgetown University, interviewed him in 2001 for his book. “There are some people who just can’t be replaced, per se, and they thought they were these people.”
Kenneth Elwood Moffett was born on September 11, 1931, in Likens, Pa., north of Harrisburg. His father, Elwood, was a coal miner who rose to the presidency of District 50, a union of workers in coal mining-related fields that was part of the United Mine Workers and later the United Steelworkers of America. His mother, Hannah (Ellie) Moffett, was a homemaker.
Federalism was ingrained in the Moffett family. Kane’s great-grandfather was part of Molly Maguire, a secret society of Irish American coal miners that fought mine owners in the 19th century. His grandfather, who was active in UMW, died of black lung disease. And his father took him to labor unions and factories, where Kane gave pamphlets to unorganized workers.
After graduating from the University of Maryland in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Mr. Moffett worked as an organizer for District 50 in Baltimore and Richmond, VA. In 1961, he left for the Federal Arbitration Service as an apprentice. His job included research; He later moved to mediate disputes in Cleveland for five years, then worked as a troubleshooter at the agency in Washington.
“I get on very well with people,” He told The Washington Post in late 1981, after your busy summer. “You can’t have someone who is sharp.” He continued, “I know all the catchwords and key jargon that make people say, ‘Hmm, that’s being sympathetic.'”
He became the service’s director of arbitration services in 1972, deputy director in 1977 and acting director four years later.
Despite his increasing administrative responsibilities, he remained active in mediating disputes, such as the 1975 pressman strike at The Washington Post and the 1978 newspaper strike in New York City. The New York Times and The Daily News for almost three months, and the New York Post for 56 days.,