Two-day statewide teacher walkout planned in West Virginia

 

“This struggle should be spread nationally”

Two-day statewide teacher walkout planned in West Virginia

By
Nancy Hanover

21 February 2018

Following a rally Saturday of an estimated 5,000-10,000 educators and public-sector workers in Charleston, West Virginia, protests continue to mount throughout the state over demands for decent pay and benefits. On Monday, teachers in Braxton County walked out in a one-day action. A two-day statewide walkout is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

The struggle in West Virginia takes place in the context of growing militancy by educators, parents and students seeking to defend teachers and the right to high quality public education. From Oklahoma to New Jersey, decades of cuts to public education, implemented by both Democrats and Republicans, have resulted in the rise of for-profit education companies, alongside attacks on the living standards of educators.

A section of the rally in Charleston, West Virginia

In addition to cutting school workers’ wages, school districts and the state legislature have imposed sky-high deductibles and punitive co-pays on educators and public-sector workers.

In just the past few weeks, teachers have held strike votes and staged protests in many locations, some of which have not seen a strike for decades. After a year and a half of failed negotiations, Pittsburgh teachers voted overwhelmingly for strike action, seeking lower class sizes and increased salaries. It would be the first walkout in the city since 1975. Minneapolis teachers are rallying over stalled negotiations on wages, class sizes and recess for students. Jersey City teachers are threatening strike action, emphasizing the need for relief from healthcare cuts.

Thousands of Oklahoma teachers, currently ranked 49th in salary in the…

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