Teachers in West Virginia are entering day four of their strike for higher pay and are demanding a face-to-face meeting with Gov. Jim Justice, The Associated Press reported.
The strike has forced all public schools in West Virginia to close as thousands of teachers refuse to reopen the classrooms, according to a union official who spoke with The AP.
The teachers held a rally Monday at the state Capitol to air their grievances, despite Justice, a Republican, having already signed a pay increase into law that includes a raise of $808 next year and $404 the next two years, The AP reported. Educators claim the raise is not enough to keep up with the rising price of healthcare and average cost of living.
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The state’s representative for the American Federation of Teachers, Christine Campbell, told The AP the strike will continue until leaders from the state legislature and the governor decide to sit down and hash out a new agreement.
“You’ve got to come to the table. We can’t have five different conversations,” Campbell said. “We’re not going back.”
Justice urged the teachers to return to work and said if next year’s economic numbers are strong, the state would authorize a larger pay increase.
The strike come in the midst of a Supreme Court Case, Janus v. AFSCME, that could cripple public sector unions and significantly slash their cash intake.
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