All West Virginia schools closed today as teachers’ rebellion continues
2 March 2018
The insurgent movement of teachers and other school employees in West Virginia continued Friday, with more than 30,000 public education workers staying off the job and forcing the closure of schools throughout the state’s 55 counties. Despite the efforts of the unions and the Democrats and Republicans to shut down the strike, the movement is gaining momentum with public school students joining protests at the state Capitol in Charleston today.
After being forced to call a statewide strike last Thursday and Friday that was extended to Monday and Tuesday, the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) and American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia (AFT-WV) abruptly announced that they had reached an agreement with the state’s billionaire governor, Jim Justice, on Tuesday night. WVEA President Dale Lee, AFT-WV President Christine Campbell and West Virginia School Service Personnel Association (WVSSPA) President Joe White then ordered their members to return to work Thursday after a “cooling-off period” Wednesday, without even allowing workers to vote.
Union officials hailed the governor’s flimsy promise to get the state legislature to approve a one-time 5 percent raise and appoint a bipartisan task force, including union officials, to propose a solution to the long-underfunded Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA). This outraged striking teachers and other school workers who have been facing crushing healthcare costs as the state shifts the expense of substandard medical coverage onto workers’ backs. Strikers insisted they would not return to work without a long-term solution to…