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Cabell, Wayne school employees vote not to work Friday

The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — School employees in Cabell and Wayne counties have ratified a one-day work stoppage for Friday, Feb. 16, to protest changes to public insurance for state workers and salary increases they consider inadequate, according to Brandon Tinney of West Virginia’s American Federation of Teachers union.

The House of Delegates on Tuesday passed a bill that gives teachers a 2 percent raise this year, then a 3 percent raise over the following three years, but nothing was done to keep state employees’ Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) premiums from raising. Service personnel and State Police would receive a 2 percent raise in the plan, as well as a 1 percent raise in the subsequent year.

About 300 teachers and supporters from Cabell and Wayne counties gathered after the vote to ratify the stoppage and set an agenda for Friday. Teachers have demanded no less than a 5 percent pay increase and no further changes to PEIA premiums, but they also are upset about proposed legislation to do away with seniority.

More than 70 percent of teachers and service personnel in the neighboring counties voted in support of the stoppage last week, an effort led jointly by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA). State union representatives have also threatened grander action, such as a statewide strike, during the 2018 legislative session.

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