Chris Schulz Published

Education Unions Announce Planned Merger

A vacant classroom with rows of wooden desks and chairs.Arria Belli/Wikimedia Commons

Two of the state’s largest education unions are planning to merge. 

The West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) and the American Federation of Teachers – West Virginia (AFT-WV) announced Wednesday that they have unanimously approved a values statement for a new, unified organization 

Dale Lee, president of the WVEA, said the merger will help ensure educators’ voices are heard and strengthened together.

“We saw in 2018-2019 that united and standing together, we were a stronger voice,” he said. “And with that, we’ve also seen a target on our backs in the legislature the last few years. So this gives us an opportunity to expand on the strength that we saw in 2018, 2019. And to really build something that members want and are going to be proud of.”

Lee said the proposal has received significant feedback from members of both organizations via special delegate assembly and a special convention to approve the value statement.

“We’ve gone to several counties across the state talking about this and answering questions so our members really know what’s going on,” he said.

Lee said the governing bodies of both organizations must approve the merger, but the goal is to have everything in place and have a new organization in place by September 2025. 

In a press release, Fred Albert, AFT-WV president said, “one merged unified voice for education employees is an exciting vision for the future of education in WV.”

“By definition, a union is a merging of people coming together to use their collective talents and knowledge to improve the working conditions and circumstances for the whole,” he said. “While there is much work still to be done, I look forward to continuing to work with Dale and the leadership of both organizations to make this vision a reality.”