CHARLESTON, W. Va.—A two-day teachers’ strike over pay and benefits closed schools in all 55 of West Virginia’s counties Feb. 22. The walkout, already planned, came the morning after Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that would give teachers raises totaling 4% over the next three years.
“We told him from day one that was not enough,” West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee told CNN. Teachers say those increases won’t make up for increases in the cost of their health insurance. “These are issues we’ve wanted to address for a while now,” high-school teacher Kelli Vance, on a picket line in the small town of Madison, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “Especially with it being statewide action, it goes to show it’s a bigger deal to us than they thought.” In Charleston, more than 1,000 people demonstrated outside the state capitol, joined by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. West Virginia teachers, she told the Gazette-Mail, have been “disrespected by their government officials who think it’s more important to give tax cuts to the wealthy and to corporations.” Read more


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