Before Supreme Court justices decide the union-busting case Janus v. AFSCME, the New York Times suggests they should turn to West Virginia for a real-time, down-to-earth example of why unions are essential for working people. Teachers there, on strike for more than a week, continue to stand strong for fair pay and for better schools for their students, and they’re doing it in the face of a state Senate that just voted to lower their take-home pay. Despite the teachers’ agreement with the governor to accept a 5 percent salary increase, senators voted to increase healthcare costs and cut raises so that overall income would dip even lower than it is already.
West Virginia Teachers’ Strike Continues;
Solidarity Needed Now More Than Ever!
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
As some of you may know, the West Virginia teachers’ strike is set to
continue on Monday, as the WV Senate has failed to come up with the 5%
raise that Governor Justice promised, that the WV House of Delegates
approved — and that the teachers, together with their three trade
unions, are demanding, and expecting.
A chaotic special session of the State Senate took place throughout the
day on Saturday (March 3). Formally, the Senate voted a pay raise of 4%
— which the teachers and their unions rejected — but technically,
through the most bizarre clerical mistake, the Senate voted a bill
approving the 5% raise. [See articles below.]
At this writing, the state Senate is still trying to correct the glitch
— though they might have a hard time doing so, as some in the Senate
are arguing that it would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate to
rescind the previous 5% vote.
Whatever happens, the teachers and their unions have issued a statement
that all public schools will be closed again Monday “and remain closed
until the Senate honors the agreement that was made” — that is, the 5%
A comprehensive statement on the current situation was issued Saturday
evening by West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) President Dale
Lee. It can be accessed at:
Monday will be a pivotal day in the strike. The teachers will be back at
the Charleston Capitol to demand the 5% wage increase. They need to know
that the rest of the labor movement is with them. They believe that they
can win — and with our support, they will win!
Solidarity statements from union locals, and city and state labor
councils, and photos of union members across the country holding up
signs in support of their struggle are needed urgently. You should send
your photos to Kym Randolph, WVEA communications director, at
There is also a GoFundMe page set up by West Virginia teachers to which
everyone is invited to make a financial contribution. They need our
Full support to the striking West Virginia teachers!