Tentative deal reached to end West Virginia teacher strike
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday that the nine-day teacher strike is over, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.
Justice sent the tweet just before a legislative conference committee was scheduled to meet to resolve differences on legislation granting pay raises to teachers and service workers.
We have reached a deal. I stood rock solid on the 5% Teacher pay raise and delivered. Not only this, but my staff and I made additional cuts which will give all State employees 5% as well. All the focus should have always been on fairness and getting the kids back in school.
— Governor Jim Justice (@WVGovernor) March 6, 2018
Though union leaders said they would not accept anything less than a 5 percent raise to end the strike, the state Senate up to this point had offered only a 4 percent increase.
The deal announced by Justice would give teachers a 5 percent pay raise. Additional cuts would give all state employees a 5 percent raise as well.
— Brad McElhinny (@BradMcElhinny) March 5, 2018
In West Virginia, the median salary for a secondary-school teacher in 2016 was $44,480, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
— The Hechinger Report (@hechingerreport) March 5, 2018
More than 5,000 people on Monday entered the West Virginia Capitol, according to the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety. Due to safety concerns, access points were closed at 1 p.m.
MORE: 5K+ had entered our grand #WV Capitol by noon. Given the size of lines still outside, and the placement of crowds inside, Capitol Police and @WVFireMarshal saw an imminent safety concern. The decision was made to close the access points at 1pm. That is what occurred.
— WVDMAPS (@WVDMAPS) March 5, 2018
— Jatara McGee (@WSAZJatara) March 6, 2018
Meanwhile, teachers in Oklahoma could also be getting ready for a statewide teacher strike to advocate for higher pay and increased spending on public education, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Along with those in West Virginia, teachers in Mississippi ($42,925), Oklahoma ($45,245) and South Dakota ($42,668) are the lowest paid in the country, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Teachers in U.S. public elementary and secondary schools, on average, earned $58,950 in 2016-17, the center reported.
New York teachers earned the most ($79,637), followed by California ($78,711), Massachusetts ($77,804), Washington D.C. ($76,131) and Connecticut ($72,561).
Pennsylvania teachers, on average, earned $65,863 last school year.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at [email protected], 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.