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West Virginia students spent significant time out of school this winter because of an illegal, union-encouraged teachers’ strike.
Teachers have legitimate concerns about wages and health insurance premiums, but in this case, West Virginia lawmakers did what they could to help teachers while being fiscally responsible by looking at budget cuts rather than raising taxes or spending recklessly.
The unions, unfortunately, continued to encourage striking even though generous deals were made.
In a recent op-ed, Americans for Prosperity State Director Jason Huffman shed light on the situation:
State lawmakers had sought to address these issues in a fair but fiscally responsible manner. Earlier this session, the legislature passed a pay raise that represented about a 4 percent increase over three years. This pay raise is closer to 9 percent after accounting for the $500 salary increase teachers already receive on an annual basis. And the Public Employee Insurance Agency, or PEIA, which is responsible for all state public employee healthcare benefits, has frozen current rates until policymakers can determine a long-term solution.
Despite this, the teachers and unions continued to ask for more and more. Students and their parents waited at home, taking up sick days, vacation days or just not going into work.
Lawmakers in West Virginia stood fast. They addressed teachers’ concerns while refusing to put the burden of higher taxes on West Virginians. Read more of Huffman’s op-ed here.