Our Collective Bargaining History

40 years ago, the Illinois Education Association’s (IEA) collective bargaining bill, officially known as the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (IELRA) , passed through the legislature and was signed into law by Republican Governor Jim Thompson. The IELRA gave education employees the right to collectively bargain and required school districts to bargain with them. This video details the decades long battle the IEA eventually won to create the IELRA. The story begins in Illinois when there were still segregated, and female teachers were required to wear skirts. It follows the years and years of hard work put in by thousands of IEA members and staff members to create the law. This story is more than a legislative one, we also explore how the creation of the IEA Minority Caucus not only helped pass the IELRA, but also helped IEA become the largest union in Illinois.