Kris Maier has more details on the West Virginia teacher strike in the Wall Street Journal.
Public-school teachers in West Virginia went on strike Thursday, shutting schools across the state, as unions rejected pay and benefits proposals by state lawmakers.
The walkouts affected some 270,000 students, according to the latest enrollment figures from the state Education Department. The department had announced school closures for all 55 counties in the state Wednesday night.
A second day of walkouts was planned for Friday. The strike appeared to be the most widespread in the state’s history. In 1990, a teacher walkout shut schools in 47 counties for 11 days.
The state’s two main teachers unions have rejected pay increases proposed by the state legislature. A House bill passed this week would grant the state’s teachers a 2% raise this year and a 1% increase in each of the next two years.
The state attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, called the work stoppage illegal and said his office would support “ any relevant state agency or board with legal remedies they may choose to pursue to uphold the law.”
Mr. Lee of the teachers union said members were aware of the attorney general’s statement but decided to proceed with the strike. “We’ll deal with the legal issues as they come,” he said.
There are roughly 19,000 teachers in the state, including 15,000 who are unionized, Mr. Lee said.