Oklahoma Teachers May Soon Go On Strike

Thousands have jammed into the Capitol on prior days, and the lines outside by mid-morning gave the impression that this could be the biggest crowd yet.

The House wouldn't agree to the Senate's move, sending the bill to the conference committee. But a House version of the bill, which favored the higher pay raise, had somehow been entered into the Senate voting system and was approved by unsuspecting Senate members.

Teachers have said they will continue to strike until a 5% raise is passed, and their supporters agree.

Legislators, however, remain unsure about the financing. "The governor's basically following that belief".

"We took our time", Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne.

But state Sen. Craig Blair, a Republican committee member, said a "knee jerk reaction" led to revenue revision.

But Kessinger said, "We all know those numbers are not accurate".

West Virginia teachers argue that their starting salaries are lower than for surrounding states, which makes it tough to recruit and fill empty positions.

Health care is a key element of the fight in West Virginia, where even the prospect of a modest pay hike is wiped out by declining benefits, which had until recently been a key draw to the public sector. Capitol Police and organizers are working to "ensure manageable conditions this afternoon", the agency said. Since Frontier acquired Verizon's landlines in West Virginia in 2010, the company has "cut over 500 good, middle-class jobs in the state", it said.

In the midst of the legislative battle, almost 277,000 students have been left out of class.

The strike began February 22 with teachers protesting salaries that are among the lowest in the nation and rising health care costs. School service personnel are also walking out.

Stewart has considered becoming a teacher, and he would like to stay in West Virginia, but he fears that won't be an option if the state laws don't change to better compensate educators.

Frontier Communications workers in West Virginia and Ashburn, Virginia, this weekend went on strike after several months of contract negotiations.

"When the events unfolded from there, it was evident we have a representative government in the Senate that abused power last night", she said.

"Thanks, everyone. Strike Support Fund Committee has met for a second time today". When they heard that they'd gone to 4 percent, actually, people cried because we want to be in our classrooms, we want to be with our children more than anything.

The West Virginia Education Association, the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association and the American Federation of Teachers issued a joint statement Saturday that said they were "angry and disappointed" that an agreement hasn't been reached.

On Tuesday evening it appeared that a deal had been struck- a 5% pay increase was suggested by the governor and passed in the house. The current measly two hundred and fifty dollar deduction was in danger of being eliminated completely by House Republicans, but stood to be doubled by the Senate. We have three days from when we started.

Teachers are protesting pay that's among the lowest in the nation, rising health care costs and a previously approved 2 percent raise for next year after four years without any increase. Opposing the suggestion of their union leader to return to work, teachers chose to continue their strike.

The issue of teachers' pay isn't restricted to West Virginia.

The proposed deal also called for the creation of a task force to address union concerns over the public employees insurance program.

Without some future exceptions, Minority Whip Delegate Mike Caputo, D-Marion, said if an 11-year-old girl is raped by an uncle and her parents are unable to afford an abortion, she'll be unable to receive the procedure.

  • Leroy Wright