West Virginia Teachers Continue Major Strike For Pay Raise


West Virginia's teacher strike will continue Monday after the state's Senate failed to give public school teachers the raise they'd been hoping for.

Approving a 4 percent raise, instead of the 5 percent hike, will save the state $17 million, Boso said.

Approximately, 277,000 students are entering their eighth day of no school, as are 35,000 employees, according to the Associated Press.

West Virginia's Senate has voted to give striking teachers and other workers a 4 percent raise next year.

Dale Lee, the president of the West Virginia Education Association, said in a Facebook video to the membership on Saturday night,"We're asking that all public schools in West Virginia be closed again Monday and remain closed until the Senate honors the agreement that was made", according to Reuters. That is 1 percentage point less than the 5 percent negotiated by Gov. Jim Justice with union leaders to end a strike that has shuttered classrooms statewide for seven days.

"That compensation increase is long overdue", Sen.

In a joint statement, the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, West Virginia Education Association and the School Service Personnel Association say Senate President Mitch Carmichael and its leadership team has left them with no choice.

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Teachers in West Virginia have been striking since February 22 to demand an increase in pay.

Democratic Sen. John Unger, who voted for the 5 percent raise, told NPR he is seeing a groundswell of support that he is calling "The West Virginia Spring".

"A walkout would be the last resort, but we want more money for education in the state, that means more money for supplies, more staff and pay raises so teachers will stay", said the group's leader, Alberto Morejon. The state's teachers are the 48th lowest earning in the nation, according to data from the National Education Association, with an average salary of $45,622. The bills will have to be reconciled. That version passed the House on a 98-1 vote.

The teachers' strike across West Virginia is rolling into its second weekend with the state Senate planning to meet Saturday.

Schools in all 55 counties have been closed since February 22 as teachers and others have rallied for higher pay and a long-term fix for the Public Employees Insurance Agency.

Justice said in a series of tweets on Saturday night that he prefers a 5 percent pay increase for teachers and would like to negotiate the larger increase for all of the state's public employees as well.

Republicans in the State Senate, who have emphasized fiscal restraint with spending, do agree that teachers are underpaid.