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Mingo County teachers plan walkout next week


The Williamson Daily News

Teachers and staff at Mingo County schools met at First Presbyterian Church in Williamson on Monday to discuss a planned one-day walkout over proposed changes to health insurance benefits and lack of a pay raise.
(Williamson Daily News photo by Travis Crum)

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — Teachers and staff in Mingo County have decided to hold a one-day walkout next week.

They want to show disapproval for proposed changes to health insurance benefits, a change in seniority rights and a lack of raises, said Brandon Wolford, a special education teacher at Lenore PreK-8. Approximately 88 percent of staff in the county, including teachers, counselors and other service personnel, voted to take action against the proposed changes by the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency and the State Legislature, he said.

Wolford said the exact date of the “walkout” will be kept secret, but would be one day next week. Teachers won’t show up for the work that day and instead attend planned rallies at the State Capitol or at the Mingo County Courthouse, he said.

“They are trying to change our insurance premiums and won’t tell us how much, and then they are trying to give us a 1 percent raise,” he said. “It’s an insult after all the rising costs they are trying to slap on us.”

Wolford said he is opposed to Republican Gov. Jim Justice’s proposed changes to PEIA benefits that would increase or decrease insurance premiums based on meeting certain health goals.

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