FAIRMONT, W.Va. — On Saturday morning, public education workers from Marion County and beyond met with West Virginia representatives for a discussion on legislation.
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Marion County Education Association (MCEA) hosted the panel so these employees could voice their thoughts on issues like the increases to Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) costs and the statewide repealing of seniority in schools. They also discussed what could be done to make a pay raise increase possible, after the state budget allowed for only a 1 percent increase for all public education employees over a four-year period.
As the panel went on, some legislators encouraged the plight of the workers while some others did not speak in the teachers’ favor. Afterward, the teachers spoke of their concerns.
“We came here today to get more information because of the possibility of striking,” Shannon Lopez, a teacher at Lincoln Middle School in Harrison County, said. “We don’t want to leave our classrooms, our kids, our families but here we are.”
While topics of dissatisfaction were discussed with the legislators and representatives, they also reacted to suggestions on how a better pay raise for teachers could
be made possible through proposed revenue-generators. The host from MCEA brought up heavier taxes on gas, food, and even taxation on hypothetical legalized recreational marijuana as possible solutions to the republican and democratic representatives.
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