Governor Justice releases statement after Senate decision on pay raises

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President Lily Eskelsen Garcia is in Charleston on Monday to show her support for striking West Virginia teachers. The Senate, however, approved a 4 percent raise.

"We recognize the urgency of this situation", Paul Espinosa, chair of the House Education Committee and co-chair of the conference committee said of the stalemate.

Justice, who ran and was elected as a Democrat but then switched his affiliation back to Republican in August 2017, agreed to a 5% raise, a significant bump from the 1% he'd signed off on days earlier.

Teachers have said they will continue to strike until a 5% raise is passed, and their supporters agree.

"Frontier is proud to be one of the top employers in the state, average annual wages for union employees exceed $64,500, and more than half of all union employees earn more than $75,000 per year", said Greg Stephens, SVP of midwest region for Frontier Communications in a statement. - Teachers across the state of Oklahoma are rallying together to send a message to legislators. The size and density of the crowds has prompted a "capacity concern from Capitol Police and the West Virginia Fire Marshal". "The first pizza delivery is already scheduled for noon on Monday, March 5th at the State Capitol in Charleston", the UESF president wrote.

Teachers in West Virginia have been striking since February 22 to demand an increase in pay. All 55 counties announced school closures for Monday.

WVEA is representing the strikers along with the state branch of the American Federation of Teachers and the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, reports the AP.

Bailey also thanked the teachers and school service personnel for their support as well as the community.

Please note, Alaska and Texas are big oil producing states, and they have higher severance taxes than West Virginia and the companies are still there.

A GoFundMe page for the striking workers had garnered more than $218,000 by midday Monday.

Last week, the House passed the 5 percent raise that was part of the governor's deal with union leaders. "The bill will now go to the House for a vote".

Confusion spread throughout the Senate chambers, as House members walked across the hall to watch some of their counterparts sort out what some kept calling a "clerical error". We have three days from when we started. The House and the Senate could extend that deadline.

Galvanized by a growing social media campaign, teachers wanted competitive pay to attract and keep teachers in the state.

Some have pointed out, for instance, that a sizable number of West Virginia students rely on the free breakfast and lunch programs to eat. The suggestion was rejected by the Republican leadership.

Teachers from around the state met in a planning session in Tulsa Friday and Oklahoma City teacher Heather Reed said, "Our teachers are exhausted, tired", the Tulsa World reported.

While Governor Jim Justice (R-WV) marked enactment conceding teachers a 2% pay increment this year with an extra 1% expansion in the accompanying two years, this did not meet the requests of the West Virginia teachers' associations.

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