CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia teachers say they’re not surprised the statewide strike will continue a fourth day.
Union leaders made the announcement during a Monday rally on the state Capitol steps in Charleston. Teachers and school service workers began picketing last Thursday, but they say lawmakers haven’t done anything to fix their pay or benefits.
“I can’t say I’m particularly surprised. They’ve not really done what they’re supposed to,” said Erica Newsome, a teacher at Chapmanville Regional High School in Logan County.
Newsome was one of thousands of school employees dressed in red, holding signs and chanting for change during Monday’s rally.
She said she’s frustrated with Governor Jim Justice and state lawmakers for not communicating with leaders of the WV American Federation of Teachers, WV Education Association or the WV School Service Personnel Association.
“The fact that they’re not willing to sit down with our union leadership and talk to them shows me that they’re not really serious about trying to take care of, so why would we go back?” Newsome said.
It’s all about compromise, said Cabell County teacher Kelly Angle. She said a strike will continue if lawmakers can’t reach a deal.
“If we can’t get these legislators to sit down and listen, have an open mind and try to work with the educators, this is going to keep going,” Angle said.
Faith Cottrell, a teacher at Belle Elementary in Kanawha County, said she’s fed up.
“They’re going to keep jerking us around, trying to take our insurance — we have to stand up and fight. This isn’t a fight that we wanted. They brought it to us and now we’re going to show them who they messed with. We’re tired of it,” she said.