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Chicago’s Latin School Educators Take Big Step Towards Unionizing

CHICAGO – Today, the majority of educators from the Latin School of Chicago filed cards with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) affirming their intent to organize the Latin School Union.

“With our action today, the teachers at Latin School have demonstrated our collective desire to form a union,” said Elissabeth Legendre, an upper school Latin language teacher. “We know that organizing will help us raise a powerful voice that will benefit our students and the entire school community.”

The card filing positions the 185 teachers and educational staff (including assistant teachers, nurses and counselors) to better advocate for the needs of their students and to regain an effective voice in important decisions about teaching, learning, and student well-being at the acclaimed institution.

In a union, Latin School educators will also be better able to facilitate transparency and two-way communication between employees and administrators. Improved communications will benefit students and parents, as well as educators, staff, and administrators.

"The outstanding educators at Latin School made it clear today that creating the best Latin School possible is their top priority," said Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery. "Working together in one strong union, these educators will be able use their voice to improve teaching, learning, and every aspect of their school community. IFT unions across the state share those goals and will be proud to welcome Latin School educational professionals to our family."

An independent college preparatory school with a focus on liberal arts, Latin School serves about 1,100 students in grades PreK-12. Nearly 99 percent of Latin’s students pursue a higher education after graduation. Notable alumni include women and men with careers in business and industry, medicine, the arts, government, and more, including former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and former Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is currently running for Secretary of State. Latin has also educated students from well-known political families, including the children of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and former Governor Bruce Rauner.

Latin School educators will now hold an election to finalize the formation of their union; ballots are expected to be cast sometime in June, 2021. With a majority “yes” vote, the Latin School Union will be affiliated with the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers/AFL-CIO.

“We’re proud of Latin School and our students,” said Faye Wells, upper school science teacher. “Together in a strong union, we look forward to greater opportunities to work with the administration and build a culture of mutual respect, equity-based professional development, and collaborative decision-making that will serve everyone at our school well.”

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The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.


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