CID Becomes a 100 Percent NATCA Facility
Friday, May 31, 2013

When Jerry Reichenbach came to Cedar Rapids Tower (CID) in 1987, there was no union certified yet to represent the air traffic controllers. “It was a para-militaristic environment,” he said. “It was ‘do as we say or you are gone.’ Very unpleasant!”

NATCA was officially certified on June 19, 1987. But Reichenbach, the current CID facility representative, said there were few controllers at CID who supported the new union. One controller even joked that he was the “non-union rep,” Reichenbach recalls.

But that has all changed over the years and this month, CID reached a very special and notable milestone: It became a 100 percent NATCA facility.

“As NATCA grew stronger, folks started to realize what NATCA was doing for them,” Reichenbach said. “The membership increased as NATCA proved its worth, time and time again. But there were those that were still die-hard anti-union. As NATCA evolved, controlling seniority, the basic work schedule, removing the dress code, I saw something happen: I saw hardline, anti-union controllers joining NATCA!”

Still, he adds, there were a few that would never join. But attrition has a way of replacing the old with the new, he said, and “we do train those that will some day replace us, and that is what took place.”

When each new controller arrives at CID, Reichenbach said they introduce them to what NATCA is, the union’s history and what NATCA can do.

“I am very proud that Cedar Rapids is finally 100 percent NATCA members!” he said. “As FacRep for most of the past 25 years, I am humbled and extremely proud of our membership! As a FacRep on his last term, I am very confident in and excited for the new members that are stepping up to get involved with our union! Cedar Rapids ATCT can finally say ‘WE ARE NATCA!’”