Teachers in West Virginia are not happy with some of the decisions made by the state’s legislature regarding their pay and benefits.
According to the teachers, they have been seeing a lesser amount on their paychecks, and now they are afraid they might have some of their benefits cut. The Public Employees Insurance Agency or PEIA is their main form of insurance, but costs like co-pays and prescriptions have been going up, but they say their pay hasn’t change. They also fear that the government may take away benefits for seniority.
Governor Jim Justice has proposed an additional 1 percent pay raise for teachers and other public service personnel for the following five years, but they say that’s not enough when you factor in taxes and insurance premiums.
Josh Gary, the President of AFT Marshall county, said, “With the state already being 700 positions short in our classrooms, they sure aren’t making people want to stay here. They’re only doing things to drive people out. I know a lot of people that have said, ‘if this doesn’t improve, I’m leaving’ and that’s just going to make the problem that much worse.”
An informational meeting was held Monday night in Marshall County to discuss the issues regarding their benefits.
On Monday, Governor Justice announced that the newest addition to the PEIA program, Humana Go365, will be 100 percent voluntary for policy holders with no penalties. He has been assured that PEIA can remove the proposed premium penalty of $25 per month with minimal financial impact to the plan.