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West Virginia teachers to continue strike after Senate passes lower pay raise

By Susan McFarland
West Virginia teachers to continue strike after Senate passes lower pay raise
West Virginia teachers at the steps of the state capitol Feb. 26, 2018, during a strike for better pay. The strike will continue on Monday after the West Virginia Senate on Saturday decreased a proposed teacher raise from 5 percent to 4 percent. Photo courtesy West Virginia Education Association/Facebook

March 3 (UPI) -- The West Virginia teacher strike will continue on Monday, after the Senate on Saturday decreased a proposed teacher raise from 5 percent to 4 percent.

West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee said the vote broke the agreement promised by the governor and passed by the House.

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"At this point, all three organizations announce we are out indefinitely," Lee said. "We do not accept the 4 percent. The Senate still has the opportunity to do the right thing on the floor. But until this bill passes this out at 5 percent, we are out indefinitely."

Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday had announced the teachers' strike, which had kept 300,000 students out of classrooms, had come to an end after four days when the state agreed to give teachers a 5 percent raise of $2,020.

The tentative deal struck by Justice and unions represented about 20,000 teachers and 13,000 school service employees.

A statement posted on Facebook by the WVEA said "Senate breaks agreement - no school on Monday."

The statement called for teachers to return to the Capitol on Monday and said "all public schools in West Virginia will be closed again on Monday and remain closed until the Senate honors the agreement that was made."

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