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Paraprofessionals and school-related personnel (PSRP) provide essential services at
public schools and universities. They include secretaries, bus drivers, food service workers, maintenance workers, custodians, library assistants, groundskeepers, school bus/cafeteria/playground aides, IT professionals, parent liaisons, graduation coaches and paraprofessionals such as reading specialists, special education assistants and more.


As the inequality gap between the rich and poor widens, the IFT and all of today’s unions have become more important than ever. By promoting equal pay for equal work, unions help reduce these inequalities, close the wage gaps faced by women and people of color, and strengthen the middle class.

The IFT also helps protect our members’ rights and gives them a voice in the workplace to advocate for themselves and those they serve.


The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) is a statewide union made up of more than 103,000
professionals, including teachers and PSRPs 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 IFT has been organizing PSRPs since the early 1930s, when the first PSRP affiliate, the Education Secretaries of Chicago, was founded.
Today we represent more than 20,000 PSRPs across the state. Our governing Executive Board includes PSRP members from across the state. These leaders are elected by the membership and help guide the policies, positions, and agenda of the IFT.

IFT sets a foundation for high-quality education and public services by supporting meaningful
professional development, promoting health and safety in the workplace, and demonstrating the importance of a strong and just work ethic.

Strength in numbers

Beyond each members’ local union, membership in the IFT provides the support of 103,000 professionals in 200+ locals across Illinois, 1.5 million members of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and more than 10 million members of the national AFL-CIO . As one of the largest labor unions in Illinois, IFT has strength in numbers and a history of affecting positive change, from the workplace to the Capitol. 


IFT membership gives you a powerful voice in the workplace that no one can have alone. Together, members select their local or council’s bargaining team, negotiate terms with the employer, and vote upon their collective bargaining agreement (CBA, or contract). The CBA establishes a transparent and positive work environment by providing fair wages, benefits and job security while setting work rules and expectations. IFT members also use their powerful voice to advocate for important issues like smaller class sizes, professional advancement opportunities, social and racial justice, safe schools and workplaces, and more.

Protection & support

The IFT helps members win economic gains and other improvements. The union also helps ensure
that the terms of each contract are enforced. We provide support to help protect every member against employer discrimination, questionable behavior, unfair labor practices, and more. If an
employer violates your contract, we help resolve the problem, with legal support if needed.

Lobbying and political action

IFT empowers you and your colleagues to make your voices heard by legislators on important issues that impact you, education, and public services. Our highly experienced team keeps you informed and arms you with the resources needed to influence policy decisions that affect your workplace, your family, and your community.


Membership in the IFT helps to increase your salary, rights, and power on the job. But it also provides countless benefits that help you develop your professional skills, further your education, and even save you money! Through the IFT,  AFT, and Union Plus, members have access to free and low-cost professional development and union leadership opportunities and PSRP-specific trainings and conferences, occupational liability insurance, scholarship programs, crisis counseling, consumer savings programs, and much, much more.

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