Blog - West Virginia Strong

How We Got Here: The Strike Begins

John Raby, the Associated Press How We Got There: The Strike Begins After years of struggle over rising health costs and frozen wages -- West Virginia is near the very bottom of states for teacher pay-- the teachers of West Virginia called a strike for Thursday, February 22, 2018. The historic strike would affect hundreds of thousands of public school kids and families across all 55 counties of the state. State officials reacted with restrained caution as the strike was technically illegal, but teachers packed the capitol building in Charleston in a show of remarkable solidarity. Robert Ray, the Associated Press At this moment, no one knew the outcome. Everyone knew, however: there had to be a change. Continue reading

How We Got Here: Teachers Respond

How We Got Here: Teachers Respond West Virginia teachers and public employees have been struggling with stagnant wages and constantly increasing health care costs. In some cases, West Virginia educators were caught in a cycle of actually paying to be employed, as changes in health care structures necessitated drastic payment increases. The situation, in a word, was unacceptable. That's why, despite a vaunted compromise from the PEIA board, West Virginia teachers had had enough. Continue reading

How We Got Here: PEIA's Shaky Path Forward

  How We Got Here: PEIA's Shaky Path Forward PEIA, the state's public employee health insurance system, has been the source of constant debate. The situation is fraught with controversy, with neither side seeing an equitable path forward. That was until the PEIA Finance Board in December approved a so-called "softened" approach toward proposals aimed at reform for the struggling insurance system, proposing a compromise change in the tiered system for premium changes, changes in family plan, and caps on deductibles. However, to many across West Virginia, this plan was merely papering over a deeply flawed system. Continue reading

How We Got Here: PEIA Cuts

We all know the pain and frustration felt across West Virginia among teachers, parents, and students. We also see working families coming together to demand dignity for West Virginia educators, who haven't seen a pay raise in years. What's less clear: How West Virginia got in this position. Let's take a quick look back at some of the events that led to the teachers' strike: Continue reading