LOS ANGELES -- While striking teachers picket in the rain, unexpected hardships have hit a couple of Los Angeles Unified School District instructors like a lightning bolt. Shannon Whitney and Xochilt Valdivia Ford are married to furloughed federal workers who have not been paid for 26 days.
The couples are career employees in what they had considered the steadiest of jobs.
Valdivia Ford said she had anticipated the walkout and built up her savings, but she never imagined the stalemate over funding a border wall would hit home.
"I have problems sleeping. It's worrisome. It's worrisome because we're very responsible. I have excellent credit, I've never missed a payment," says Valdivia Ford, a second grade teacher at Montaro Elementary in South Gate.
The teachers say they are determined to go the distance because of unacceptable conditions for their students. Whitney said her school has no nurse four days a week. There's no one who can assess a child's illness or injury.
"Most of the time they don't even have an ice pack, they get a cold sponge and they put it on their bump or they band-aid it up. And it's the office staff that has to do it," Whitney said.
The couples said they are mindful of other striking teachers who face greater hardships. Some are single parents.
Teachers are paid monthly. They are now living off their January paycheck. In February, there will be nothing if the strike continues.
They press forward with their campaign to sway negotiators on the local and federal level.
"Teachers, government, the president -- we need to talk and come to an agreement as adults," Ford said.