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Here's What We Know So Far About the West Virginia Teachers' Strike

Here's What We Know So Far About the West Virginia Teachers' Strike

Many teachers were upset by the statement as it was unclear if the deal was anything more than empty rhetoric since Justice did not have the votes to pass it in the state legislature.

Yesterday, many expected the West Virginia teachers' strike to end as union leaders and Governor Jim Justice announced a deal to temporarily freeze PEIA health insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and prescription costs.

The Department of Education said Thursday evening that the strike over low pay and rising health insurance costs would keep public schools closed Friday. They occupied the House galleries to watch the vote.

They reached an agreement with Gov. Justice for a five-percent pay raise for all teachers and educators for the first year, and a three-percent raise for all state personnel. "Pay raises are significant and the PEIA is not fixed - but at least there is a hope the PEIA will be fixed over the next few months and include employee voices, and that's significant".

And he described the state budget as having only so much flexibility after several years of cutting.

Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, called for SB 4145 to be taken up for immediate consideration on the Senate floor.

The walkout entered its fourth day Tuesday as the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association failed to come to an agreement with lawmakers following the initial two-day walkout that began Thursday.

But on Thursday the Senate majority opted to move the pay raise bill to its Finance Committee.

Sen. John Unger, a Martinsburg Democrat, said it was the Senate's fault the walkout would continue Friday. "I am expecting all schools across the state to be open on Thursday, March 1 and have asked each county superintendent to direct employees to report at normal time on that date to resume the school year", Paine said.

House Bill 4145 was approved Wednesday evening by the House Finance Committee.

And both Carmichael and the teachers say they're not sure if anyone can trust the $58 million revenue increase the governor announced earlier this week after he'd been to a series of critical town hall meetings with educators. The teachers haven't had a raise for four years.

"West Virginia law requires school systems to make up all missed instructional days".

The deal would have seen teachers possibly receive get a pay rise of 5 percent for this year, compared to the previous 2 percent offer.

Members of the senate will be back in session Thursday at 11 a.m.

A first-year teacher, and a permanent substitute for Raleigh County, Waddell shared the fight has been rough on her financially, but claims she supports teachers and state employees and believes everybody will continue to fight until significant changes are made.

"The governor goes out and meets with groups that express dissatisfaction and he comes back that night and finds $60 million and takes the pay raise to 5 percent". But teachers across the state have refused, saying they will not return until the State Legislature completes the deal, and counties across the state have kept schools closed. It now goes to the Senate for consideration during the day.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael speculated Wednesday that as many as 22 Republicans in the 34-member Senate will oppose Governor Justice's plan.

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