Public education employees are up in arms again in West Virginia, this time over SB 451, a pay raise bill that also contains numerous provisions that are anathema to teacher unions – charter schools, education savings accounts and annual reauthorization of dues deductions. There is a lot of speculation that if the bill passes in its current state, teachers will again walk out as they did last winter.
The West Virginia strike of 2018 is credited with launching the wave of teacher job actions across the country. Often missing from accounts of the strike is the role played by the 55 county superintendents, who as a group closed all of the state’s schools.
This action not only ensured teachers couldn’t go to work even if they wanted to, but that the walkout days would be treated the same as snow days – meaning teachers wouldn’t lose any pay for striking.