Teachers Strike

Teachers John and Kerry Guerini of Fayetteville, West Virginia, hold signs at a rally at the state Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.
John Raby / Associated Press

The public education uprisings that began in West Virginia and spread to Arizona, Oklahoma and Kentucky share similar origin stories.

Teachers, long tired of low wages and a dearth of state funding, begin talking to each other online.

Their Facebook groups draw tens of thousands of members. They share stories of their frustrations and then they demand change.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Now that thousands of striking teachers across West Virginia have returned to work with a pay raise and a promise to fix their health care plan, how might their actions inspire others? It’s one of the questions we’ll explore on this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia.


Brad McElhinny / WV Metronews

Brad McElhinny almost missed the first rumblings of the teacher's strike.

This issue was on almost nobody's radar screen until MLK Day, when Brad stumbled into West Virginia Education Association president Dale Lee at a teacher's rally at the Capitol.

Health, doctor, nurse, mask, breathing, health insurance
Dollar Photo Club

Six more women will join a task force to seek a long-term funding solution to an insurance program for teachers and other public employees.

Gov. Jim Justice announced the latest appointments Monday after receiving complaints that his initial picks included only two women.

On The Legislature Today, we bring you a special hour-long broadcast from the Capitol building in Charleston. Host Andrea Lannom chats with House Finance Chairman Del. Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha, and House Finance Vice Chairman Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, on the status of budget discussions with only one day left in the regular 2018 state Legislative session. We also look back at some of the major issues that unfolded over the last two months in our reporter roundtable.

What Are the Lessons from the Teachers' Strike?

Mar 9, 2018
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Now that the teacher and school employee work stoppage is finally at an end, Rick Wilson and Jessi Troyan are on the Front Porch take a look back and try to determine what comes next.

Is this really a resolution where everyone involved can "take home a win"?

With talk of similar actions in similar actions in Pittsburgh and Oklahoma, could this be a sign of more to come?

What does way the strike was handled on both sides say about West Virginia as a state?

Courtesy

Wyoming County was one of the first school systems to decide to walk off the job during the recent statewide teacher strike, essentially starting what some are calling a labor movement. West Virginia Education Assocation President Dale Lee says Wyoming along with Logan, Mingo and McDowell made the first move.

For about two weeks, teachers from across the state held signs and led chants inside the Capitol. Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly caught up with one of those teachers, Nina Tunstalle, on her way up to Charleston.

Teachers and other state workers rally at the Capitol, Mar. 6, 2018.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Steven Paine told reporters Thursday afternoon that all nine days of the recent teacher and school employee work stoppage would need to be made up by each county school district. However, counties will have control and flexibility on how they do it.

On The Legislature Today, an agreement among House and Senate conferees for a five percent pay raise for all of West Virginia’s public employees was announced Tuesday morning. Later that afternoon, both the House and Senate bodies approved HB 4145, giving teachers, school service personnel, and state troopers a five percent raise. Shortly after that, the bill was signed by Governor Jim Justice and will go into effect on July 1, 2018. Teachers erupted over the news that effectively began the end of a 9-day statewide teacher and school personnel work stoppage. Host Andrea Lannom speaks with Senate President Mitch Carmichael to hear the latest.

Kara Lofton/ West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Updated on Mar. 6, 2018 at 8:30 p.m.

After nine long days of a teacher and service personnel work stoppage, it looks like it’s come to an end. Lawmakers have agreed to a five percent pay raise for teachers as well as a five percent pay increase for all public workers.

On The Legislature Today, conferees from the Senate and House met for the first time Monday afternoon, following their appointment Saturday night to work out their differences in a salary bill for teachers, school personnel, and other state employees. We bring you an update from the eighth day of the work stoppage, the latest action from the House and Senate floors, and host Andrea Lannom chats with Bob Brown, a representative from the American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia chapter.

On The Legislature Today, there’s only one full week left of the 2018 West Virginia Legislative session. In these final days, tensions continue to run high over the teacher work stoppage and the legislative process addressing the issues of PEIA and teacher salaries. Host Andrea Lannom is joined by fellow statehouse reporter Jake Zuckerman of the Charleston Gazette-Mail to breakdown all the action of the week and what’s to come as we near the final hours.

Scott Finn / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The walkout of school employees is entering its second week, and there's no sign of it stopping yet.

Will teachers and their supporters "remember in November," and if so, will this help unions and their political supporters?

Or will there be a backlash that cancels out labor's efforts in West Virginia?

On The Legislature Today, protesting teachers returned to the Capitol, ignoring their union leadership and extending a work stoppage for a fifth day statewide. Acting on a revised revenue forecast from Gov. Jim Justice, the House of Delegates moved swiftly Wednesday night to pass a new 5 percent pay raise package for teachers, service personnel and state police, with raises for additional state employees to be addressed in the budget bill. But a fix for PEIA is still the issue.

On The Legislature Today, Gov. Jim Justice held a press conference Tuesday evening announcing a 5 percent pay increase for teachers and state service personnel as well as an end to the work stoppage – however, the stoppage looked far from over Wednesday. We bring you the latest from the Capitol. Also, in this episode, host Andrea Lannom is joined by Senate Finance Chairman Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, to talk about the budgetary issues facing lawmakers.

From left to right (back), Cora Dunlap, Jakob Spruce, Zack Ihnat, Chase Goldsmith; (front) Clare Higgins, Elena Liu - signatories of an open letter calling for teacher support during the statewide walkouts.
Roxy Todd / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Many students throughout the state are joining teachers in protests for what they assert to be fair compensation. Students at Capital High School issued an open letter clarifying their perspectives.

Some officials have accused teachers throughout the state of setting a bad example for students. The students at Capital High School find that laughable. They say it’s been a rich opportunity for dialogue and learning about history and civic responsibility.


On The Legislature Today, teachers, school service personnel and other public employees returned for the second of a two-day work stoppage as frustrations linger over salaries and healthcare. Leaders of the American Federation of Teachers, West Virginia and the West Virginia Education Association announced Friday that the work stoppage will continue Monday. But will it be just that -- a work stoppage -- or a full-on strike? Here’s the latest from the statehouse in this week’s reporter roundtable.

On The Legislature Today, the looming statewide teacher work stoppage is scheduled for later this week, and there are several related issues before the Finance and Education Committees. Host Andrea Lannom chats with Del. Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, Chairman of the House Education Committee and member of the House Finance committee. Also joining the conversation is Del. Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, member of both the House Education and Finance Committees.

On The Legislature Today, hundreds, some estimate thousands, of teachers and service workers filled the West Virginia Capitol building Friday demanding higher wages and a fix to the Public Employees Insurance Agency. Host Andrea Lannom discusses the action and reaction to the rally in this week’s reporter roundtable.

On The Legislature Today, the West Virginia House of Delegates spent nearly four hours in session debating amendments to the teacher, school personnel, and police pay raise bill. We also look at clips from an emotional public hearing on a bill that proponents say will crack down on fraud within assistance programs, like SNAP. Host Andrea Lannom also chats with Minority Vice Chair of House Finance, Del. Mick Bates, D-Raleigh, on a handful of issues moving under the Capitol dome.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice confirms teachers and other West Virginia public employees will see their health insurance coverage unchanged for the next 17 months with his administration finding another $29 million to support the cost.