The Slatest

West Virginia Lawmakers Reach Deal to Give State Employees Pay Raise in Effort to End Teacher Strike

West Virginia teachers, students, and supporters hold signs on a street.
West Virginia teachers, students, and supporters hold signs Friday in Morgantown, West Virginia, in support of the strike as they continue to demand higher wages.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

West Virginia lawmakers have agreed upon a deal to give a 5 percent pay raise to all state employees, Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday morning. The deal, reached after Republicans in the Senate relented, was aimed at ending a nine-school-day strike by educators in the state, who rank 48th in the country terms of pay.

A representative for the teachers union told CNN that if the bill passes, teachers will likely return to school Wednesday.

Republican state Sen. Craig Blair said that the cost of the raise would be offset by a $20 million cut to Medicaid and general services, according to CNN.

The governor and the teachers union had previously reached a deal for a 5 percent raise, but Republicans in the Senate blocked that deal, instead passing a bill for a 4 percent raise. The union rejected that number.

According to NBC News, 250,000 students have been out of school since Feb. 22, when roughly 20,000 teachers around the state began their strike. In addition to campaigning for better pay, the teachers had been pushing for more funding for their state employee health insurance program.

Justice agreed last week to set up a task force to address the insurance program.

According to CNN, the West Virginia strike has also caused teachers in other states to consider organized action, and teachers in Oklahoma have said they are considering walking out.