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.
PEIA under scrutiny as teachers voice concerns
CHARLESTON — Recent changes by the state’s Public Employee Insurance Agency have proven to be deeply unpopular with public school teachers, who say rising premiums outpace annual raises they should receive.
On Friday, the insurance plan’s unpopularity reached a fever pitch as teachers from several schools, mainly in the southern part of the state, filled the Capitol in protest of PEIA and a bill that offers only marginal salary increases for teachers.
Only time will tell if the mounting political pressure will convince members of the PEIA finance board to make enough changes to stave off a statewide teacher strike.
“Again, I am aware and understand the challenges and the struggles our families are faced with, and I’m going to continue to review and recommend policy changes to get PEIA premiums reduced wherever they can be,” said Gov. Jim Justice in a news release.