ZAU Members Step Up to Provide New Lactation Room for Mothers
Friday, September 06, 2013

Early last year, controllers and management at Chicago Center (ZAU) agreed that the private area for mothers to use a breast pump were far below any standards. So, according to ZAU Facility Representative Toby Hauck, ZAU NATCA decided to rectify the situation.  

"We worked a deal out with our local environmental folks and got a room built," he said. "Basically we paid for all the supplies to construct and furnish the room and they did the work. Lockers were removed from the women's locker room and walls were constructed. Electricity was added and the room was painted. After it was completed, we furnished the room with a lamp, nice gliding rocking chair, bookshelf and refrigerator."

Hauck credited ZAU member Jaimee Frank for helping with setting up and designing the room.

The work was finished last month, coinciding with NATCA receiving a briefing from the FAA regarding a new nursing mothers program that provides for scheduled break times and a private location in all FAA facilities and offices for nursing mothers. According to the policy, nursing mothers who choose to use the program will complete a form with a proposed schedule for breaks and the Agency will provide dedicated private space in the facility/office for this purpose. Studies have consistently shown that infants who are fed breast milk boast stronger immune systems than babies who consume only formula. The agency has recognized that providing time for mothers to pump has translated into parents at the FAA taking less sick leave to care for their ill children.

"This is our union dollars at work," Hauck said. "It's good news."

The lactation room at ZAU includes a glider, refrigerator and shelves for nursing mothers.