Teachers Assistants, After School Workers, Custodians, Cafeteria Workers and other school workers at LAUSD call on the District to commit to health care for working families
As the Los Angeles Unified School District began its winter break today, school workers led a candlelight vigil calling on School Board Members to reflect on their responsibility to healthy schools and communities. Standing on the front steps of LAUSD Headquarters, they urged the Board to commit to ensuring all LAUSD working families have access to equal and affordable health care benefits in the New Year.
Thousands of dedicated school workers, including Teacher Assistants and After School Program Workers currently do not have access to the District’s health care coverage because it is unaffordable or they are simply shut-out of the plan. Additionally, next year, Board Members and a new Superintendent will consider the recommendations from a financial review panel that call for cuts to family health care for workers who currently do have coverage under the District’s benefits plan. Braving the cold and holding candles and signs that read, “Health Employees=Healthy Schools,” school workers urged the LAUSD Board Members to consider the impact of their decisions on local communities, schools and students. They reminded Board Members that many LAUSD school workers are also parents of children attending District schools.
“As a mother, quality health care is very important to me. It’s why I choose to purchase LAUSD’s health care plan,” said Andrea Weathersby, a Teacher Assistant with a third and ninth-grader in District schools. “But the cost of coverage is so high, I often have to make the choice: either I pay for coverage, put food on the table or pay the rent. There is very little left for extras. And my children feel the strain. My son loves to attend music class. It costs $10 per week but some weeks I can’t afford to send him. And I’ve had to pull my daughter off the summer dance program she loves because the cost is too much for me. She’s even asked me to take her off the health insurance plan so she can keep taking classes … No one who works in our District and is dedicated to our students should have to make these hard choices.”
LAUSD District 4 School Board Member Steve Zimmer joined workers at the vigil and spoke out in support of the campaign, “We have always found a way to get there together when it’s about what is right, what is just, and what is moral. You have allies on the Board who will honor the moral contract that we have with all of our employees. And part of my moral contract is to make sure all LAUSD employees have health care.”