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Teachers, Supporters Picket In Front Of NMS

By Staff | Feb 6, 2018
These individuals stand united for teachers and other public employees across the state of West Virginia. (Photos provided)
This girl expresses support for her teachers and school.
Teachers and supporters of them, and other public employees, stood outside -- across from New Martinsville School -- Feb. 6, in opposition to a proposed 1 percent race for West Virginia's public employees. They also express concern for PEIA funding.
Teachers and supporters gathered Feb. 6 to request support from the public as they ask for funding for PEIA.
Teachers argue that West Virginia ranks near the bottom in pay to teachers. (Photos provided)

Employees from New Martinsville School, along with supporters, braved the elements early on Feb. 6 and held an informational picket outside, across from the school. The picket was held from 7 a.m. to approximately 7:25 a.m at the former Rite Aid store. At 7:25 a.m., NMS employees then headed to the school building for the day.

“A walk-in was held at New Martinsville School to show solidarity and support for teachers, service personnel, and public employees throughout the state of West Virginia,” said Elliot Kendle of the Wetzel County Education Association.

All across the state, public employees have been speaking out against a 1 percent pay raise for teachers and all state employees. Employees feel as if this raise, proposed by Gov. Jim Justice, is not enough. Teachers feel this proposed raise isn’t enough for retain top educators in West Virginia. At an average wage of about $40,000 a year, the raise would amount to about $400 annually for the teacher.

Perhaps the number one concern, based on the signs held Feb. 6, pertain to fixing the Public Employees Insurance Agency and funding the PEIA. Teachers and other state employees are concerned about cuts to the health insurance benefits they receive through the PEIA.

A private informational meeting for Wetzel County’s teachers and service personnel was also held the afternoon of Feb. 6. However, this meeting was not open to the public.