“Enough is enough,” shouted protesters.
Dozens of teachers lined up outside the West Virginia State Capitol, to protest a hike in their PEIA health insurance, and a low pay raise.
“We need more than a one-percent raise, we are worth that,” said Lisa Workman, a Wyoming County teacher.
“We deserve more,” shouted teachers inside.
And hundreds of teachers packed the entire hall way between the Senate and House chambers, while lawmakers were in session, debating a one-percent pay hike for all state workers.
“One percent is only going to give me $20 dollars on the month. While PEIA is taking away $250 dollars a month. That’s a $230 dollar pay cut, so the one-percent is nothing,” said Angel McCoy, a Logan County teacher.
The state Senate voted unanimously for the one percent pay raise.
Democrats tried to raise it to three percent for teachers and education staff, but that failed.
“We thought three-percent was reasonable. We could find it in the budget. We found other money when we needed to. And I thought it was a reasonable request,” said State Sen. Roman Prezioso, (D) Marion – Minority Leader.
Republicans said the state can’t afford it.
“Well it was voted down because we don’t have the money for it, and they knew that. And the people who offered that amendment did it to score political points in an election year,” said State Sen. Ryan Weld, (R) Brooke – Majority Whip.
Teachers and supporters are upset.
“They need to be respected, paid better, and they need better insurance. My wife’s also a teacher and the PEIA premiums keep going up,” said a Doug Lester, a member of the Wyoming County School Board.
Its estimated that over one thousand people came to the capitol for the protest.
“Many of the teachers ended the day by chanting, ‘we will strike, we wil strike.’ We will continue to keep an eye, oon how this story continues to develop,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.