Teachers Picket in Front of Van Nuys High School

Waving picketing placards and wearing red for unity, Van Nuys High School teachers took to the street on Wednesday, Oct. 11 before classes began for the day to protest an LAUSD threat to drastically cut employee health benefits starting in January 2019.

“The picketing went very well,” said Mr. Robert Crosby, co-chairman of the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) campus chapter. “There were a lot of people out there and it showed a lot of camaraderie, a lot of concern, and that should continue. This will make it harder for the district to make these cuts. People should continue to be more active and more proactive in trying to convince the district that this isn’t a smart idea.”

UTLA, the teachers union, is currently in negotiations with the District to extend healthcare coverage once the current period expires at the end of 2018. The union contends that the district does not plan to fund healthcare at current levels, “saying healthcare costs are unsustainable,” and instead offering four options aimed at cutting costs, such as limiting paid dependent coverage to one additional person or requiring employees and retirees to pay for a significant portion of their own coverage.

Crosby says there are many ways teachers and other staff can combat the proposed cuts. “We will continue to protest,” he said. “There will be other protests: one in November and throughout the rest of the year. There are multiple ways teachers can get involved and express their dismay.”

Ronald Goins on October 11, 2017