We might just be on the verge of a statewide teacher strike if the teachers don't get the 6% pay raise they have been seeking. Joe Manchin requested a 2.5% raise for teachers while the West Virginia House of Delegates has proposed a 3.5%. Most people think it will probably be 3% to 3.5%. The WVEA is requesting a flat 6 percent increase, while AFTWV is requesting $5,000 across the board.
Personally, I don't think the teachers will strike. I don't see any situation where the two teachers' unions (The West Virginia Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers) are going to be able to coordinate their plans. This weekend is proof they are on their own agenda...both fighting for their own causes. Two separate rallies...the teachers have no unity.
Second, how many teachers can truly afford a long and nasty strike? Manchin doesn't seem phased by the strike talk. He's still sticking with is 2.5% proposal. He knows teachers are divided and can't handle the strike. Why should he change?
Third, when is this strike going to occur? The legislature breaks March 10th. What would a strike really accomplish after that? The time for a unified stand by the teachers has come and gone. It's too late.
Lastly, there doesn't seem to be much public support for the teachers. The news has barely covered their rallies and I haven't heard any real rumblings from the public. If the general public isn't going to stand up for the teachers, the teachers don't stand a chance.
Personally, the teachers do deserve more money. I thought all this gambling money was supposed to go to schools, teachers, etc. Obviously, the WV Legislature and Governor Manchin are misusing those funds. We talk about wanting the kids to be better educated but we won't invest in that education. Surely a long term deal could be met...perhaps 3.5% this year with a guarantee of 3.5% next year too? Regardless of what happens, I don't see a strike in the teachers' future.