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Justice proposes 5% raise for West Virginia school employees; strike set to end Thursday


Charleston Gazette-Mail

Teachers, from left, Kim Hundley, Jamie Heflin and Susan Brewer demonstrate inside the state Capitol on Tuesday, the fourth day of statewide walkouts.
(Gazette-Mail photo by Craig Hudson)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With a proposal for an even higher pay raise next school year, this year’s statewide public school employees strike — the second teacher strike in West Virginia history and the first to also include school service personnel — is planned to end, at least for now.

The strike began last Thursday, after one-day employee walkouts in at least 11 counties. Under the plan announced Tuesday, employees are to return to work Thursday.

That’s according to Republican Gov. Jim Justice and leaders of the state’s three major school worker unions: the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, the West Virginia Education Association and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association.

Details were lacking in the news conference, which happened after 6 p.m. Justice took only a couple of shouted questions from reporters, saying he had to get to George Washington High School, in Charleston’s South Hills, to coach his Greenbrier East High girls basketball team. The game started at 7, and the Spartans lost to GW, 90-81, to end their season.

Union leaders stayed longer to answer questions from the roomful of reporters, but they also cut off the news conference, saying they had to leave.

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