CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Thousands of West Virginia state employees and school teachers are on the verge of another pay raise. But many are still worried the cost of their health insurance will be going up too fast.
Governor Justice originally proposed a 5% pay raise for all state employees, but now his plan has changed.
When teachers and school service personnel went on strike twice a few years back, they wound up getting 5% pay raises each year. This year, Governor Justice asked for 5% again, for them and state troopers. But now the plan has morphed.
Each group would instead have starting pay and step-pay increases of $2,300 this year. There would also be funding to shore up their PEIA health coverage. One goal is to stop many of these workers from taking better-paying jobs in neighboring states.
“Well now it’s a little worse, and I am going to speak specifically about Maryland. Maryland is like offering 10 to 15 thousand dollars more per year. So our counties that border Maryland, it makes a big difference. I think that Ohio offers about 5,000 more,” said State Sen. Amy Grady, (R) Mason and Education Committee Chair.
“We have to have a long-term plan for PEIA. We know that employees are going to have to put some skin in the game. And the task force recommended no less than 80% from the state, and no more than 20% from the employees,” said Dale Lee, President of the West Virginia Education Association that represents thousands of teachers.
The final vote on the pay raise and PEIA bill will be in the Senate on Friday, it will then go to the House.
There is a separate bill to raise the pay of state corrections workers. As for all other state employees, potential pay raises for them, remain in limbo.