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Gurnee School Dist. 56 Support Staff File to Form a Union

LAKE COUNTY, IL – Professional support staff in Gurnee School District 56 filed authorization cards with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board (IELRB) this morning, powerfully affirming their intent to form a union.

“We’re proud and excited to announce that we have taken the necessary step to officially form our union,” said Jim Neofotistos, Maintenance. “By joining together, the support staff in this district will be able to drive student innovation to help them learn and grow, while ensuring a fair and equitable work environment for our dedicated employees.”

The district’s 70 professional staff provide a variety of critical services to support students, parents, and their educator colleagues, serving as paraprofessionals, technology specialists, clerical staff, maintenance personnel, custodians, and student services workers.

The new union will become a council of the Lake County Federation of Teachers (LCFT, Local 504). LCFT is a local union in the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT).

“Local 504 is excited to welcome our support staff colleagues in District 56 into our LCFT family,” said LCFT President Dennis Duffy. “By joining together in their union, these dedicated professionals will have a stronger voice to advocate for students and one another. At the same time, they’ll have the support of 6,000 educators and fellow support staff across Lake County.”

“We are so proud that District 56 support staff are joining our union family,” added IFT President Dan Montgomery. “The IFT continues to experience incredible growth because education professionals like those in Gurnee understand that joining with your coworkers in a union is a powerful way to help students learn and keep school environments healthy. Unions benefit not only our students and staff, but the entire community.”

As the Gurnee Professional Support Staff Council of Local 504, staff will use their collective voice to negotiate good contracts that address building health and safety, provide fair wages, encourage staff retention, and ensure equal access to professional development and job advancement. All these issues are critical to creating a work environment where students, staff and the entire district can thrive.

Now that authorization cards have been filed by a strong majority of District 56 support staff (in four school buildings and the district office), the IELRB is expected to certify the new union by no later than August. Members will then begin the democratic process of establishing the union’s governing structure and electing union leadership.

"Our union looks forward to collaborating with district leaders to address student and staff needs,” added Bobbi Welch, Teacher Aide at Prairie Trail School. “Working together, we’ll be able to make positive changes that improve our district and benefit us all."


The Lake County Federation of Teachers (LCFT, Local 504) represents about 6,000 educators, certified staff, and paraprofessionals and school-related personnel in 32 Councils in Lake County.


LCFT is a local union of the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) which represents more than 100,000 educators 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.


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