Greetings from 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 cut as talks continue
Several Ohio teachers were injured yesterday when they were attacked with a pellet gun by a speeding driver. But they will have to pay out of pocket to see a doctor after the Columbus School District cut health insurance for all striking teachers.
“I am extremely concerned to hear that health insurance for striking teachers has been canceled.” state Sen. Hearcel F. Craig said in a statement. “I find it unconscionable to put the lives of teachers and their families at risk and 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 bargaining table with the help of a federal mediator.
Union raises $60,000 on GoFundMe to support striking teachers
The Columbus Education Association has set up 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 accusations of truancy as they argue over crossing the box line
Meanwhile, the school district is trying to replace more than 4,000 striking teachers by hiring a crew of 600 substitute teachers to teach through distance learning.
Because of Solidarity with teachers, some parents are refusing to cross the “virtual picket line”. Others, however, fear their children could face truancy charges if they don’t cross the picket line.
A group of parents has organized an effort to fight truancy charges that can be brought against children for skipping virtual training due to scabies. Some parents have even started their own alternative parenting programs.
“We plan to spend the week talking and reading with our kids about the labor movement and unions, with some visits to the picket lines,” parent Chris Wood of Beechwold 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 is the sacrifice we can make.”
For more on parent organizing in support of the strike, see the Columbus Dispatch.
Lordstown Area teachers are also threatened with health care insurance cuts
With devastating property tax cuts hitting school districts around Ohio, teachers elsewhere in the state are taking a hit. In Niles, just outside Lordstown, where a General Motors plant 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 say they are determined to strike.
“We cannot allow our teachers’ base pay to remain around life support any longer,” KTA spokesperson Traci 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, much less retain, quality new teachers to the Niles School District.”
For more, check out the Tribune Chronicle.
Help us travel to Niles, Ohio next week
Payday Report hopes to be on the scene with striking teachers next week in Niles.
Donate to help us pay for the food, gas and hotel needed to cover this vital strike in a factory town that has been hit.
News and strikes happening elsewhere
That’s all for today, folks. Donate to pay for gas to travel to Ohio to cover these important teacher strikes And if you can, sign up today as one of our 708 repeat donors.
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Love and Solidarity,