Striking Teachers March on WV Capitol

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“Do your Job; do your job!” teachers shouted at the Capitol.

Thousands of striking West Virginia teachers chanted outside the Senate and House chambers, saying a proposed health insurance fix, and a 2-percent pay raise signed by the Governor are not good enough.

“We  need a raise. These teachers that’s older than me, need a raise long before I come along,” said Christina Adkins, a Fayette County teacher.

“We deserve it. We educate ourselves, to educate our future, and we need that pay raise,” said Andrea Hayes, a Kanawha County teacher. 

“We’re here to get the respect we deserve as educators,” said Christina Rollins, a Monongalia County teacher.

Many democratic lawmakers are sympathetic.

“They are very worried about the PEIA. They’re here to let the legislators know it,” said Del. Phil Diserio, (D) Brooke.

“Folks are fed up. They’re down here to show that they’re tired of it. They’re tired of being treated like second class citizens,” said Del. Mike Caputo, (D) Marion – Minority Whip.

But Republican leaders say a 2-percent pay raise was the most the state could afford right now.

“Yes we did pass a pay raise bill and it was a bump-up from what the Governor initially had, 2-percent in the first year,” said Del. Eric Nelson, Chairman (R) Kanawha – Finance Committee.

“I did vote in fact for an amendment that did put a 3-percent first year increase. That amendment failed on a 50-5- vote,” said Del. Marty Gearheart, (R) Mercer.

Teachers promise to return here Friday.

“Among the loudest chants we heard today the phrase, ‘We’ll remember in November,’ a sign these education issues are likely to be a big deal come the fall campaign,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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