A bill that would allow Chicago Public Schools principals to unionize is going to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker after the bill was approved Friday by the Illinois Senate.
If signed by the governor, House Bill 5107 would repeal current provisions that bar principals and assistant principals in the city from bargaining unit membership.
“For far too long, Chicago principals have not had a say in the work environment and procedures that affect them, as well as their students,” bill sponsor and state Sen. Robert Peters, D-Chicago, said in a statement. “Chicago principals have a voice when it comes to their working conditions, and their voice deserves to be heard and valued.”
Once approved, principals and assistant principals would be able to negotiate a work contract with the district.
According to Peters, school administrators in several states, including New York, California, New Hampshire and Connecticut, already have collective bargaining rights.
“Chicago Public Schools remains committed to collaborating with our school leaders as they meet the needs of students, families, teachers and staff,” CPS said in a statement. “The district will also collaborate with administrators under House Bill 5107, a process exclusively designed for Chicago Public Schools, as additional district employees become eligible for possible unionization. We support statewide implementation of this legislation as the tenets hold true for all school districts.”
The Chicago Principals and Administrators Association (CPAA) published a survey last year that found more than 96% of CPS principals and assistant principals were in favor of having collective bargaining rights.
“Principals and assistant principals are responsible for creating a loving, inclusive and nurturing learning environment for students, and they should be empowered to negotiate the terms and conditions under which they can create those environments and build great schools,” CPAA President Troy LaRaviere said in a statement when the survey was published.
LaRaviere did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.