CHICAGO -- Two fired air traffic controllers and two controllers' wives have committed suicide since the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization strike began in August, a newspaper reported Saturday.
The Chicago Sun-Times said one of the wives hanged herself in her kitchen, with a stack of unpaid bills nearby.
The victims were former controllers in Indianapolis and Los Angels and wives in Green Bay, Wis., and Nashua, N.H., the newspaper quoted AFL-CIO officials as saying.
'This is an extraordinary situation, even in the aftermath of a strike,' said Walter Davis, the AFL-CIO's community services director.
Davis said he believes 'a significant number of controllers were living beyond their means.'
'One has found situations like a fellow earning $36,000 a year as a controller, paying $1,400 a month on two mortgages, and then finding himself out of work.
'Those who were smart sensed what might happen and prepared for it,' he said. 'Others did not.'
The AFL-CIO has set up a nationwide fund to aid financially ailing controllers. Because the strike was in violation of federal law, the labor body administers the money through 250 field representatives rather than through PATCO.