Marion County educators, service personnel set to take action authorization vote

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The Marion County Education Association found unanimous consent to beginning an action authorization vote, which will be held in the schools Thursday.

The approval was given during a county-wide meeting Wednesday.

Despite winter weather conditions, Marion County Education Authority President Allyson Perry said over 100 teachers and service personnel attended the meeting, with at least one representative from each of the county’s schools.

“Then we’ll get a percentage of how many teachers and service personnel would support the idea of taking the statewide collective action at the discretion of our leaders,” Perry said.

Marion County Education Authority and AFT-Marion building reps will organize elections in each school building. Voting will be done through secret ballot during non-instructional time. Anyone who chooses not to vote is counted as a ‘no’ vote.

“It is not a vote to strike, but instead, an authorization vote is different. It’s more unique,” Perry said. “It’s a vote that would grant authority to the West Virginia Education Association and American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia’s state presidents and leaders to act on our collective behalf and decide if and when to take statewide action.”

Rallies have been held around the state in the last two weeks as teachers, service personnel, and other public employees protest changes to PEIA and pay increases.

Perry said the atmosphere in the schools over that time has been very clear.

“I think people are fed up,” she said.

Marion County has also held multiple informational pickets outside of schools and public areas to inform the community, as well as garner community support. Perry said the pickets have been very successful thus far.

“They did a really great informational picket outside of the Shop n’ Save on Fairmont Avenue, and I had to drive past it to go to the board office,” she said. “I know that a lot of people were honking their horns, waving and giving thumbs up, so I thought that the response there was very positive.”

Another information picket will be held this Saturday after the statewide town hall meeting in Fairmont. Marion County teachers and service personnel are also preparing for the statewide rally in Charleston on February 17.

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