West Virginia Governor Announces a Pay Deal for Striking Teachers

“We have reached a deal.”

Teachers hold a rally outside the Senate Chambers in the West Virginia Capitol.Tyler Evert/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced Tuesday morning that his office had reached a deal to end the nine-day statewide teachers’ strike.

The governor said the deal include the 5 percent pay raise that teachers union leaders had demanded and that the raise will be given to all state employees, not just teachers. Leaders in the GOP-controlled state Senate—which had previously blocked the 5 percent raise in favor of a smaller pay increase—confirmed the news and said money for the deal would come from spending cuts elsewhere.

The news arrived moments before West Virginia legislators were scheduled to meet to discuss a pay raise for teachers and other state employees. A similar deal had almost been reached at the end of last week when the governor and the state’s House of Delegates had agreed to the 5 percent raise—but the Senate refused to go along, opting instead for a 4 percent raise.

Union leaders have reportedly said they will wait for the full Legislature to approve the 5 percent raise before ending the strike.

https://twitter.com/NewsroomJake/status/971046998345486336

The massive strike was a reaction to legislation Justice signed into law last month providing smaller pay increases. Teachers argued that last month’s raises did not adequately keep pace with the cost of living. According to the National Education Association, West Virginia currently ranks 48th in teacher salaries. Educators there hadn’t received a salary increase for four years.

The strike halted classes and school programming for the state’s 277,000 students and 35,000 school employees for nearly two weeks. Had a deal not been reached, the state’s teachers unions had promised they would continue to strike indefinitely.

Update, 12:50 p.m.: Republican state senators have now reportedly shared details of the deal struck between the governor’s office and state lawmakers, which will cost the state $20 million. Sen. Ryan Ferns said the state’s Division of Tourism, Department of Commerce, Division of Highways, and Division of General Services would see budget cuts, according to the West Virginia State Journal. According to CNN, Sen. Craig Blair indicated that Medicaid spending would be reduced, as well—a proposal that quickly drew criticism from the left.

https://twitter.com/meaganmday/status/971062289984966656

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate