Latin School educators take big steps toward unionizing

Karen Ann Cullotta, Chicago Tribune
·2 min read

Teachers from Chicago’s prestigious Latin School are taking steps this week toward organizing a teachers union, officials with the Illinois Federation of Teachers said Wednesday.

A majority of educators at the private school at 59 W. North Blvd. — including 185 teachers and other staff, such as assistant teachers, nurses and counselors — recently filed cards with the National Labor Relations Board affirming their intent to organize the Latin School Union, IFT spokeswoman Amy Excell said in a Wednesday statement.

The teachers are tentatively slated to hold an election in June to finalize the formation of their union, and if the effort receives a majority of “yes” votes, the new Latin School Union will be affiliated with the IFT and the American Federation of Teachers/AFL-CIO, Excell said.

“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.

IFT President Dan Montgomery said the “outstanding educators at Latin School made it clear today that creating the best Latin School possible is their top priority.”

“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,” Montgomery said.

An independent, college preparatory school with a focus on liberal arts, Latin School enrolls around 1,100 students in grades pre-K-12, union officials said.

With nearly 99% of Latin School’s students pursuing higher education after graduation, notable alumni include former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and former Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who is currently running for secretary of state, union officials said.

The private school has also educated students from political families, including the children of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, union officials said.

“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,” Faye Wells, upper school science teacher, said.

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