As nine-day teachers’ strike concludes
Striking West Virginia Frontier telecom workers speak out
9 March 2018
Thursday marks the fifth day of a strike by over 1,400 Frontier telecommunication workers in Virginia and West Virginia. Frontier has eliminated over 500 jobs in West Virginia since 2010 and is threatening to eliminate 15 percent of its current workforce. Lorraine, a Frontier worker in Ashburn, Virginia told the WSWS that Frontier is paying scabs 98 dollars an hour and up, with bonuses in order to continue operations.
When the strike began, 33,000 teachers and public school workers in West Virginia were also on strike. On Monday, thousands of teachers flooded the capitol building in Charleston, which is within eyesight of the picket line at Frontier headquarters, just across the Kanawha river. The Communication Workers of America union (CWA) made no attempt to unite the struggle of Frontier workers with the teachers.
Yesterday, after nine days on strike, the teachers were sent back to work when their unions concluded a sell-out agreement with Republican governor Jim Justice and the Republican-controlled state legislature that provides state employees with a meager five percent pay raise and no resolution of their main demand: guaranteed funding for their underfunded health insurance fund, the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA). A “task force”, to be composed of Democratic and Republican legislators, as well as union leaders, has promised to look into the issue, although many teachers expressed skepticism about the deal.
Furthermore, Governor Justice and state legislators have indicated that the teacher’s raise will be funded not by taxing the billion-dollar energy companies which rule the state, but…