Fundraiser for West Virginia teachers on strike tops $225000

Parry Casto a fifth-grade teacher at the Explorer

Tension between the government and West Virginia teachers can be eased in one of two ways. Their work is a sign of the labor activism that may be in store if the Supreme Court removes further legal tools from public sector unions.

The teachers have gone all-in anyway, and are now in the eighth day of a wildcat strike that encompasses all of West Virginia's fifty-five counties.

The bottom line here for the vast majority of Americans is that this Supreme Court decision is a key part of a larger war against not just unions but the notion that there should be any restraint against the unchecked power of the affluent and corporations. The ruling would mean that unions in 22 states including West Virginia, where fair share fees are now allowed, would have significantly fewer resources to combat unfair labor practices and fight for better working conditions.

The state's governor and teachers union announced Tuesday they had reached a deal to implement a 5 percent raise for state employees across the board. Protesting teachers and their families now regularly fill up the statehouse in Charleston to capacity, while teachers who can't make it to the capital protest in their own towns.

West Virginia lawmakers have agreed a deal to end the state's biggest teachers' strike in 30 years. But all of them are striking, in spite of the fact that their state doesn't allow it - and they have good reason for doing so. Meanwhile, health insurance costs have risen, driving down their take-home pay. West Virginia has struggled to attract or hold onto teachers in recent years, as better paid teaching positions beckon in bordering states such as Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Increased vacancies have lead to legislation proposing a lowering of qualifications for educators, and now many full time teachers in West Virginia are technically uncertified for their positions.

"We feel like we're under attack constantly", Cody Thompson, a social studies and civics teacher at Elkins High School, told local news outlet WVVA. That equals out to 88 cents every two days.

West Virginia lags most of the nation when it comes to teacher pay. "We're losing teachers to other professions and other states". "The people of West Virginia expect us to do what is right".

South Korea says talking to U.S. about steel tariffs plan
In fact, Trump baited his opponents even further when he wrote on Twitter that trade wars are good and easy to win . As is typical for most Trump administration policy roll-outs, the details - beyond percentages - remain vague.

Senators grilled Justice administration officials on their more optimistic state financial projections. The absolute cheapest health care plans across the US cost between $181 and $366 per month.

The strike, now in its eighth school day, has idled more than 277,000 students as educators pressed for higher salaries in a state where their pay is near the bottom of the scale for US teachers. It's absolutely unacceptable that people regularly suffer and die purely because they can't afford health care.

Photo Teachers rallied outside the state capitol in Charleston, W.Va., last week.

And on Sunday, West Virginia communications workers announced that they, too, would be going on strike after Frontier Communications failed to agree to a contract that employees considered fair.

To make ends meet for themselves, many of these teachers have side jobs. And if workers are deprived of union representation, they'll turn to whatever means they can use.

Democratic Sen. John Unger, who voted for the 5 percent raise, told NPR he is seeing a groundswell of support that he is calling "The West Virginia Spring". "Arizona's teachers are taking note and realizing that now is the time for us to start organizing our campuses and districts".

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