Staff Spotlight: Labor Relations Staff Attorney Jon Cakmakci
We have an amazing National Office staff that our membership can be very proud of. Labor Relations Staff Attorney Jon Cakmakci joined NATCA’s Labor Relations Department on Sept. 7, 2021. A graduate of Western Michigan University and Wayne State University Law School, Cakmakci was an attorney at a labor law firm in Detroit for several years before relocating to the Washington, D.C., area to join NATCA.
“Empowering employees to ensure they are treated fairly by their employers is the reason I became a labor lawyer,” he said. “My dad is a labor negotiator for United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 951 in Michigan, so we are a big union family.”
Thank you for all you do for NATCA and our members, Jon!
Where are you from, or what places have you lived?
I am originally from Michigan and grew up in a small town called Schoolcraft. For college, I moved to Kalamazoo, Mich., and then I went to law school in Detroit. Upon graduation, I worked for a union firm in Detroit.
Where did you go to school, or what other education do you have?
I received a finance degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo and got my law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit.
How did you come to work at NATCA?
Upon graduation from law school, I worked at a union law firm in Detroit. However, since working for the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) in law school, I always wanted to work for a union. So when I saw the application on the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee (LCC) website, I applied, and here I am.
Do you have family members who are involved in unions?
Yes, my dad is a labor negotiator for United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 951 in Michigan, so we are a big union family.
What’s the most rewarding part of being a member of NATCA’s staff? What’s the most challenging?
The most rewarding part is helping the members of NATCA. Empowering employees to ensure they are treated fairly by their employers is the reason I became a labor lawyer. The most challenging part has been making the change from private and state labor law to federal labor law. Dealing with the federal government is very different from dealing with private employers, and somewhat different from dealing with a state. However, it has been very interesting and rewarding.
Do you have any hobbies or any other activities you enjoy outside of your work for NATCA?
I love to travel and spend time with friends and family. I also enjoy snow skiing, basketball, water skiing, hiking, working out, and watching the best football team in the world, the Green Bay Packers.
Has there been a favorite moment for you while at NATCA?
I am not sure if I can limit it to just one. I have enjoyed working on contract and midterm negotiations, working with the members on responses to workplace issues, and I have just begun working on my first arbitration case with NATCA.
NFL or NCAA Football: NFL.
The best place I’ve ever traveled to was: Maybe not the best but certainly one of my favorites is Colorado to go skiing.
The funniest movie I have ever seen is: Either Caddyshack or Meet the Parents.