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Look Back 2018: West Virginia teachers strike for better pay


Christine Campbell (AFT-WV); Dale Lee (WVEA); Jessica Broski Birch; Sheila Blackmore; Kerry Bates; Tom Romick


In early 2018, much of the discussion in Charleston centered around the compensation of state workers, including teachers. Governor Jim Justice had planned on giving a 1 percent increase to all state employees, but extending that raise for teachers for another five years.

For many workers, they said that wasn’t enough. Many said that their PEIA health premiums and deductibles were rising, which meant that even if they did receive that raise, the net result would actually be a pay cut. Christine Campbell, the president of the West Virginia American Federation of Teachers, said that this issue is rooted in the fact public employees have hardly seen any pay raises.

“I think the issues are the lack of salary increases for years, and it’s not just teachers,” Campbell said. “It’s service personnel, it’s public employees who haven’t seen a pay raise in 12, 13 years.”

This allowed West Virginia to fall to the 48th-ranked state in the U.S. in terms of teacher pay, a statistic which many said would make it difficult to fill the over-700 vacant teacher positions across the state.