Uni High Teachers File Petition to Unionize
By Jeff Bossert
A teacher at University of Illinois Laboratory School, commonly known as Uni, says an attempt to unionize is based on confidence in the school’s curriculum.
Uni journalism teacher Carol Lombardi said a majority of the school’s 34 teachers supported filing a petition to form a union with Illinois’ Educational Labor Relations Board.
Lombardi said the school established in 1921 likes what it has right now, and it wants to maintain the alternative classroom setting.
“We’re a lab school, and teachers have a certain freedom to develop curriculum – you know, we’re not tied to common core or something like that," she said. "So we just want to maintain that, to make sure Uni stays a lab school, and stays kind of what it’s developed into over the last 90 years.”
In a press release, math teacher Gene Bild said a collective bargaining agreement will help eliminate some problems.
"Uni is, in many ways, a very relaxed teaching environment and we value that," Bild said. "But when difficult situations arise and there is no agreed upon process for handling them, that can be a problem. We anticipate having positive negotiations with the University and our hope is to bargain a contract that will create an even better teaching and learning environment at Uni."
Lombardi said the nine month process started with inviting all faculty to meetings to discuss the idea last fall. She said with the heavy support, teachers will now be surveyed about they want in contract talks.
"We have not yet received an official notice of this from the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board," said University of Illinois spokeswoman Robin Kaler. "When that happens, we will consider our options and determine how to proceed."