Latin School educators move to unionize, but officials don’t plan to recognize it

A majority of the 185 teachers and staff at private Gold Coast school filed union cards this week, taking a major step toward forming the Latin School Union.

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The Latin School of Chicago at 59 N Clark St. in Gold Coast

Anthony Vazquez, | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A majority of the 185 teachers and staff at Latin School of Chicago filed union cards this week, taking a major step toward forming the Latin School Union.

The cards filed with the National Labor Relations Board affirm the educators’ intent to unionize, and an election to finalize the organizing effort will be held in June, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which would be the group’s parent union, said in a news release.

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

An election to finalize the process is necessary after Head of School Randall Dunn told faculty, staff and parents that administrators don’t intend to voluntarily recognize the union because “we do not believe it is in the best interest of our students, faculty, staff or school as a whole,” a spokeswoman said in an email.

“We believe that the best way to continue to move Latin forward and provide the very best learning experience for our students is by working in partnership with our faculty and staff in a way that is aligned with our shared values as a community,” Dunn said in a statement.

The union would be affiliated with the IFT and American Federation of Teachers, the same parent unions as the Chicago Teachers Union.

The 185 educators who would be in the union include teachers, assistant teachers, nurses and counselors. Leaders said the move would help workers at the school “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,” IFT President Dan Montgomery said in the press release. “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.”

Latin School, a private college preparatory institution in the Gold Coast, serves about 1,100 students in preschool through 12th grades. Notable alumni include former state Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s children.

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