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WV school employees may face legal consequences for work stoppage


Dale Lee (WVEA)


In 1990, amid West Virginia’s first widespread teacher strike, the state Attorney General’s Office wrote in an official opinion that teacher strikes and “concerted work stoppages” are illegal, citing prior court rulings, teacher contract language and students’ state constitutional right to a “thorough and efficient education.”

The opinion said teachers could be punished by being denied pay, suspended, fired, barred from teaching in a public school for a year, hit with criminal misdemeanors, or even fined or jailed for refusing to comply with any potential court injunctions forcing them to return to work.

Such actions, if made today, would have to be taken in an election year when many county school board members and all 100 members of the state House of Delegates have their seats up for grabs, and when Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is running for a U.S. Senate seat.