Local teacher’s union President reacts to possible work stoppage

Education

Controversy surrounding public employee pay in West Virginia continues.

On Saturday, a group of teachers held an informational picket in Morgantown to make the public aware of their concerns, and town hall meetings are in the works. 

Tensions are high across the Mountain State after the Senate passed a bill to give public employees a 1% pay raise. 

This may sound like a good thing, but some people, especially the state’s teachers, say it feels like a slap in the face. 

Marshall County AFT President Josh Gary says pay is low and insurance premiums are on the rise. 

He says each county will be conducting authorization votes that could potentially lead to a work stoppage.

“They could decide we’ve had enough and we’re walking out. Each county is taking a vote, and they do it different times,” said Gary. 

Gary says some counties have already voted. 

Wyoming County, for example, did not have school on Friday due to an “impending work stoppage.”

He says they are trying to plan some town halls so the public will know what is happening from teachers’ perspectives. 

He says they also want to clear the air.

“We have to take our problems straight to the public and inform them so they don’t get the wrong idea that we’re just going to walk out and leave children in the classroom. We’re not going to do that. We want to make sure our students are educated, protected, but we also have to worry about ourselves and our own families’ livelihood,” said Gary.

Gary says pay increased after a work stoppage in 1990, and they are hoping for similar results now if a work stoppage becomes a reality. 

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