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.
“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.”
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.
“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
White House official nailed by CNN’s Tapper about Trump’s taxes after he whines Biden won’t release his court picks
Attempting to defuse accusations of hypocrisy over the rush to replace Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff complained that former Vice President Joe Biden has yet to release nominees he would consider for the high court, only to have CNN's Jake Tapper confront him about Donald Trump's taxes.
Appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," Marc Short tried to brush aside accusations that Republicans are hypocrites when it comes to voting on Supreme Court nominees in an election year when he stepped in it by attacking Biden.
"We still haven't seen a list from Joe Biden," Short told the CNN host. "We welcome a list from Joe Biden who would show the American people here's who I would appoint to the Supreme Court. But as far as the politics of it, I think the American people wanted Donald Trump to be in a position to make these nominations, and it's his obligation to do so."
‘You don’t see any hypocrisy?’ Chris Wallace filets Tom Cotton by replaying his Merrick Garland speech
Fox News host Chris Wallace accused Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) of hypocrisy on Sunday after he vowed to push forward with a vote to replace Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in an election year.
"Why the rush to judgement?" Wallace asked Cotton after the senator promised a swift vote on President Donald Trump's eventual nominee.
"We're not going to rush," Cotton insisted. "We not going to skip steps. We're going to move forward without delay."
Wallace reminded Cotton that President Barack Obama named Judge Merrick Garland as his nominee after Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016.
Trump’s ‘The Apprentice: Covid Edition’ is a massive flop — and blowing up in his face
It was an experience so profound for Trump that he did something highly unusual: He learned something. He absorbed the idea that a well-constructed illusion of competence gets you all the benefits of being accomplished, without having to do the hard work of actually achieving anything.