February 2, 2018 hundreds of teachers stormed the steps of the West Virginia Capitol to voice their concerns over low pay and changes to PEIA. “I think what they’re trying to do to us is wrong. We’re the backbone of this state,” a teacher in Raleigh County, Sarah Martin said.
Martin was one of many other teachers who walked out and demanded change. “We need PEIA to be fixed for all public employees and teachers deserve more than just a one percent raise. We also don’t want our seniority to be taken away,” the President of the Wyoming County Teachers Union, Tina Adams said.
In crowds, they asked lawmakers to stop and listen. “We spend a lot of time in our school doing respectful things, so I feel like politicians of the state need to give back a little bit more,” a gym teacher at Mount View High School, Larry Thompson said.
Everyone stood in solidarity and asked the politicians to hear their side. “We just want them to listen to us, we want them to hear us out and listen to our concerns,” Adams said.
As they chanted for change, they insisted they deserve more. “If they take care of all the people which includes the teachers they can make this state great again,” the husband of one teacher, Robert Bailey said.
Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 West Virginia Senators approved a one percent raise for all state employees for the next five years. That vote will now head to the West Virginia House.