Teacher Walk-Out In West Virginia Over Pay Raise and Insurance Benefits

Britney Trachtenberg

As of today, teachers in West Virginia are continuing their strike, making it nine days since school has been opened.  In response, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has proposed a bill that would give a 5% pay raise to state teachers, school staff and police.

Signs such as “Will Teach For Insurance” were seen during the protest in West Virginia.

After talking to a sixth grader named Gideon Titus-Glover about the issue, Justice says he changed his opinion on this issue. Reporters were told that Justice spoke to both the House and the Senate. The governor is “‘very, very hopeful’” that a bill would be passed soon to replace the small raise that will formulate over time.

The governor said that the issue of insurance will take both a task force and time. This upset the teachers that there was no immediate fix, and visibly the ones at the state Capitol. After being told to go back to school on Thursday and with the potential of another upcoming strike, the teachers were chanting phrases like “Fix it now!” and “Back to the table!” 

Teachers in West Virginia taking to the streets during the ongoing protest.

As of the writing of this article, there is no agreement In order to defend his role, Justice stated “I’m trying. What else can I do?” He also says, “I’m not king. I’m doing what all I can possibly do, ” in regards to his attempt to resolve the strike.

Senator Mitch Carmichael says in response to the governor’s opinion, “We cannot continue to spend money we do not have or write checks we cannot cash.”

**UPDATE: After the writing of this article, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that gives a 5% pay raise to state teachers, school staff and police.**