Teachers Strike in West Virginia


Tyler Evert

Teachers hold a rally outside the Senate Chambers in the West Virginia Capitol Monday, March. 5, 2018 in Charleston, W.V. Hundreds of teachers from 55 counties are on strike for pay raises and better health benefits, (AP Photo/Tyler Evert)

Rosalie Weas , Staff Writer

Hundreds of teachers stood together at the state capital from February 22 to March 6, in Charleston West Virginia, protesting for higher pay. Because of the strike, nine consecutive school days were cancelled across the state. That finally led up to the West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signing a bill that gives a 5% pay raise to state teachers, school staff and police.

The deal was signed Tuesday March 6, and school will resume on Wednesday. The House of Delegates and Senate unanimously approved the bill and Justice signed it into law. As part of the negotiations with the state, legislators also agreed to give all state employees a 5% raise during upcoming budget negotiations.

CNN reported that President of American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten said the deal was a “huge breakthrough” for school employees and the advancement of public education.

To approach the deal, The West Virginia Legislature faced a standoff over how much of a pay raise to offer striking teachers and educators. A legislative conference committee was selected to resolve the different bills in the House and Senate.

CNN stated that, Teachers stood strong and reported that they, “ wouldn’t return to work until they got a 5% raise.”

Republican state Sen. Craig Blair said the new deal represents the largest pay raise in state history. However, there will be no tax increase to offset the raise. Blair also reported that the government will see a $20 million reduction in spending cuts to general services and Medicaid.

CNN also reported, that, “the funding would not come out of Medicaid or Medicare; the subject will come up in budget negotiations.”

The bill was a win not for just one particular group, but for advancement in the education system as a whole.