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Sen. Manchin urges WV Senate to end teacher work stoppage

06 March 2018

The vast majority of people who grow up and go to school in West Virginia leave the state for work; when every surrounding state pays teachers more than West Virginia, Wood says, it's hard for the state to retain talent-there are now 725 teacher vacancies that the state can not fill.

"Until I am satisfied that Ohio County Schools will have adequate staff to safely conduct school, our schools will remain closed".

Handout photo from Rivesville Elementary School teachers of food collection/prep at Horace Mann Middle School in Charleston, W. Va. before the strike on February 26, 2018. Strikes by teachers are unlawful in the state, and their unions lack collective bargaining rights. Another meeting was planned later tonight.

"While we are hoping to avoid the need for a teacher walkout and district shutdown, we stand ready to support those actions should they become necessary", Gist said.

At a Charleston mall, Cheryl Carty said her niece - second grader Zoey Lanier - has filled the void with activities that have included a visit to a museum children's exhibit and a trip to the movies.

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Tuesday will mark nine straight school days that students in the state have not attended class.

The Capitol was closed today after 5,000 people entered, posing security concerns.

West Virginia spends about 20 percent less on school workers as a proportion of the state's Gross Domestic Product than it did eight years ago. "They're trying to draw divisions between teachers and service personnel and troopers and other state employees". Teachers were sharing stories about how they've donated their time, their own money or their own food for that cause. Only two Republicans crossed party lines to support taking up the measure.

During the 1990 strike, West Virginia Attorney General Roger Tompkins warned teachers they could be suspended for one year, dismissed or charged with a misdemeanor for walking off the job.

"We don't want these kids to suffer any more than they already do", Vannest said.

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Rachel Stringer, as a stay-at-home mom from Cross Lanes, hasn't had to struggle to find care for her five children, but numerous friends are in a bind.

The impasse capped a day of emotional arguments, often witnessed by a large, vocal crowd of teachers and their supporters. "They're exhausted of their voices not being heard, and they're exhausted of empty promises", said Tulsa teacher Teresa Danks, who created a petition to call for a teacher walkout. "They deserve to be able to have insurance". She said she backs the teachers in their dispute.

"It feels like we're perhaps reacting to pressure as opposed to properly managing the fiscal affairs of our state", Carmichael said. "Eventually whenever you're pushed into a corner, you've got to push back".

Teachers are protesting pay that's among the lowest in the nation, rising health care costs and a previously approved 2 percent raise for next year after four years without any increase.

Unger sees Craig Blair and Ryan Ferns continuing to refuse to agree to the 5 percent raise that teachers were promised. Teachers were hoping for a $5,000 raise with House Bill 1033, collectively called the Step Up Oklahoma Plan, which looked to increase the tax on tobacco and gas.

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The Republican-controlled Senate voted Saturday evening to approve a 4 percent raise. Three members from the House and three from the Senate - two Republicans and one Democrat - were selected.

Sen. Manchin urges WV Senate to end teacher work stoppage