W.Va. Teachers’ Unions Approve Possible ‘Work Action’

FLATWOODS, W.Va. — Union leaders say West Virginia teachers and other public employees have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a statewide work action if needed against complex education legislation making its way through the Legislature.

Leaders of the West Virginia Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers’ West Virginia chapter and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association announced the vote Saturday in Flatwoods.

It did not specify when or what type of action would be taken.

“The result of the vote was not surprising because SB 451 will determine the trajectory of West Virginia’s public education system. Every day, our educators put the needs of West Virginia kids first. Their well-being, quality of academic education, and the types of programs provided will be directly effected by this bill,” Adena Barnette, a member of the board of the West Virginia Education Association and president of the Jackson County Education Association, said.

The Senate passed the bill Monday. The House education committee made significant changes before approving its version Friday and sending it to the House finance committee. Both versions would give teachers 5 percent pay raises. Teachers oppose some other provisions in the bill.

West Virginia teachers won 5 percent pay raises following a nine-day strike last year.