A week in review: W.Va. teacher work stoppage

West Virginia Headlines

Day one of the statewide teacher work stoppage was Thursday, February 22, 2018.

Public employees were hoping for a resolution after the second day, but an additional full week has passed with plans to continue the teacher work stoppage until they receive a five percent raise. 

Teachers have been picketing since day one out in front of their schools, and thousands from across the state have been to the Capitol building to fight for increased wages and funding for PEIA.

The work stoppage started in response to a bill that gave teachers a two percent raise, and then an additional one percent each year for the following two years. 

Union leaders said it was not enough. 

They hoped the first two days of the work stoppage would invoke a response from the legislature, but unhappy with what they called “inaction,” the work stoppage continued into its first full week. 

Superintendents have decided on a day-to-day basis whether to cancel school, with many counties holding special meetings throughout the week.

On Monday, Governor Justice toured the state, holding town hall meetings on the issue. 

On Tuesday, he announced that he was inspired by the words of an Ohio County student and had reached an agreement with union officials. It looked like the end of the work stoppage was in sight. 

Governor Justice promised a five percent raise for education employees and called for teachers to return to school on Thursday. 

The House of Delegates passed a bill containing that five percent raise on Wednesday night, but teachers did not return to the classroom Thursday, frustrated with the Senate. 

The work stoppage continued as the Senate reviewed the bill, and after passing an amendment that changed the raise to four percent, union leaders announced the work stoppage will continue into a second week.

The amended bill was rejected by the House and is currently in conference committee where three representatives from each chamber will work to come to a consensus. 

The House and Senate reconvene Monday at 11:00 a.m..

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