Columbus Teachers’ Health Insurance Cut – Parents Organize to Fight Truancy Fees


Greetings from the Burgh, where we are in close communication with our publishing partner, John Russell of Holler, who is on the ground in Columbus.

We’ll have a longer story and more videos tomorrow, but here’s a quick update on what’s happening in Ohio.

Columbus teachers’ health insurance shut down as negotiations continue

Several teachers were injured yesterday in Ohio when a driver crossing a picket line was attacked with a pellet gun. But after the Columbus school district cut health insurance for all striking teachers, they will have to pay out of pocket to see a doctor.

“I am deeply saddened to hear that the striking teachers’ health insurance has been canceled.” State Sen. Hearcel F. Craig said in a statement. “I find it unfair to put the lives of teachers and their families at risk, and I call on Columbus City Schools to immediately reinstate their health insurance.

As the strike enters its fourth day, teachers and Columbus City Schools are at the settlement table with the help of federal arbitration.

Union raises $60,000 on GoFundMe to support striking teachers

The Columbus Education Association has organized a GoFundMe to help cover medical and other expenses. So far, the fund has raised $60,000. You can donate to their strike fund here.

Parents fear truancy charges as they debate crossing the picket line

Meanwhile, the school district is trying to replace more than 4,000 striking teachers by hiring a team of 600 substitute teachers to deliver instruction via remote learning.

In solidarity with teachers, some parents are refusing to cross the “virtual picket line.” Others, however, fear truancy charges could be filed against their children if they don’t cross the picket line.

A group of parents has organized an effort to fight truancy charges that could be brought against children for skipping virtual training by scabs. Some parents have even started their own alternative education programs.

“We plan to spend the week talking and reading about the labor movement and unions with our kids, including some visits to the picket lines,” Beechwald parent Chris Wood told the Columbus Dispatch. “We have friends who are teachers and, thinking about what they are sacrificing and risking, we agreed that not going to class was a sacrifice we could make.”

For more on parents organizing in support of the strike, see the Columbus Dispatch.

Lordstown-area teachers were also threatened with health care insurance cuts

With property tax cuts devastating school districts around Ohio, teachers elsewhere in the state are on strike. In Niles, just outside Lordstown, where a General Motors factory closed in 2019, teachers are planning to go on strike next Thursday, September 1.

The Niles school district has already voted to cut health insurance for striking teachers.

Teachers there earn $6,000 to $8,000 less than teachers in surrounding school districts and are determined to strike.

“We cannot allow our teachers’ base salaries to continue to revolve around life support,” NEA spokeswoman Tracy Kempe told the Tribune Chronicle. “What does this say about the future of the quality of education in the city of Niles? We will never attract quality young teachers to the Niles school district.

For more, see the Tribune Chronicle.

Help us travel to Niles, Ohio, next week

Payday reports that Niles expects to be on the scene next week with striking teachers.

Donate to help us pay for the food, gas and hotel needed to cover this important strike in a battered factory town.

News and strikes are happening elsewhere

That’s it for today, folks. Donate for gas to travel to Ohio to cover these important teacher strikes And if you can, Sign up as one of our 708 recurring donors today.

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Thanks again for all the support and thoughts.

love and unity,

the milk

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