Every public school in West Virginia closed due a teacher’s strike. Teacher’s marched on the State Capital to demand higher wages and benefits.
AFT President Christine Campbell stated, “There are surrounding states, teachers can go across the border, and make anywhere from $4,000 to $20,000 more.”
Governor Jim Justice just signed a bill with a 2% pay rise, followed by a 1% raise the following two years. But, according to the teachers’ union, the bill is a step backwards. An earlier version of the bill proposed a 5% increase over five years. The union also says the bill failed to address rising health care costs and a tax on payroll deduction options.
Nearly 20,000 teachers work at West Virginia public schools and more than 275,000 students missed class because of the strikes.
“What we would like from America is to understand how historical this is. And how much we appreciate the support from other states saying we’re with you, because we know public education feels like it has been attacked on multiple levels around the country with a push for more public-private charters, education savings accounts, which are voucher programs. These kinds of things are happening all over this country and West Virginia is standing up as a state and saying enough is enough.” Campbell stated.