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West Virginia teachers’ nine-day strike ends with 5 percent pay raise

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A nine-day strike by West Virginia teachers ended on Tuesday with state officials approving a 5 percent pay raise for all state workers, giving a boost to some of the lowest-paid educators in the country.

The walkout across the Appalachian state left more than 277,000 students idle as their teachers flooded the state capitol in Charleston to protest. Some schools planned to reopen on Wednesday after the deal was reached.

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“Our children have suffered enough. We have to return some normalcy to the education process,” Republican Governor Jim Justice said before signing the pay raise bill in a televised ceremony.

Teachers cheered in the halls of the state capitol after the pay deal was announced, a broadcast by the governor’s office showed. West Virginia ranked 46th among the 50 U.S. states for average teacher pay last year at $45,783, according to the National Education Association.

Craig Blair, chairman of the Senate’s Finance Committee, said he believed the pay raise was the biggest in state history. The Senate had initially sought a 4 percent raise, balking at a 5 percent hike approved by the House of Delegates.

“We’ve also done this without increasing any taxes at all,” he said in a livestreamed meeting with House negotiators to reconcile differences in the chambers’ bills. “Now, there’s going to be some pain.”

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Blair said lawmakers would pay for the raise by cutting state spending by $20 million, taking funds from general services and Medicaid.

Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, said by phone from West Virginia that the strike was indicative of the state’s long history of labor activism as a coal mining hub and of the planning that educators had done before walking out.

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“When you are pushed to the brink, people will stand up and show up and they will fight for themselves and their families,” she said.

In Oklahoma, teachers are weighing a possible walkout over budget cuts that have led to four-day school weeks in the state and teachers’ average salaries trailing those in West Virginia.

Reporting by Gina Cherelus and Jonathan Allen in New York and Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Tom Brown

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump’s ignorance has touched off a new crisis in Kashmir

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While Americans parse conspiracy theories about billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s demise in a Manhattan jail cell, Trump’s sinister role in helping light a fuse in one of the most dangerous areas of the world has gone virtually unnoticed – by the U.S. that is.

India’s abrupt takeover on Aug. 5 of the Muslim-majority Kashmir state was a double whammy for the seven million inhabitants of this once-storied Himalayan kingdom nominally ruled by India and bordered by arch-enemy Pakistan as well as China, both of which claim territory in the region. All three countries have nuclear weapons.

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Is Trump is right? Is there ‘something going on’ at Fox News?

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President Donald Trump denounced Fox News after the network released a poll showing him lagging behind the four current frontrunners for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Fox has changed, and my worst polls have always been from Fox. There's something going on at Fox — I'll tell you right now," Trump told reporters Sunday in New Jersey. "And I'm not happy with it."

The president went on to list which talent on the Fox News roster he was pleased with, while also suggesting that the hosts of the presidential debates could be determined by who treats him most favorably.

"Fox was treated very badly by the Democrats — very, very badly having to do with the Democrats and other things. And I think Fox is making a big mistake," Trump added. "Because you know, I'm the one who calls the shots on the really big debates. I guess we're probably planning on three of them. And I'm not happy with Fox."

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Plastic snow falling in the Arctic

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Plastic pollution has reached one of the most remote places on Earth: the Arctic. That is according to two separate studies released last week which found tiny plastic particles, known as microplastics, in Arctic snowfall and frozen within the sea ice.

A study by German and Swiss scientists found that snow falling in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard contained as many as 14,400 particles of plastic per litre.

They said it was likely the particles were being blown in from populated areas thousands of miles away, before being trapped in snow and falling to Earth.

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