Opponents think it’s retaliation for striking
The West Virginia state senate recently passed legislation that would make strikes by teachers and other public employees illegal. Companion legislation is pending in the House of Delegates.
“Public employees in West Virginia have no right, statutory or otherwise, to engage in collective bargaining, mediation, or arbitration, and any work stoppage or strike by public employees is hereby declared to be unlawful,” the legislation said. “Furthermore, any work stoppage or strike by employees of a county board of education poses a serious disruption to the thorough and efficient system of free schools.”
The legislation would also require the county board of education to withhold pay for any time a teacher is on strike instead of working.
The law also prohibits schools from participating in “extracurricular activities,” such as sports, if the school closes due to a work stoppage.
“This bill simply clarifies that it was not the Legislature’s intent to facilitate illegal work stoppages,” Patricia Rucker said, according to an article in The Hill by former College Fix reporter Lexi Lonas.
“This bill does nothing to move West Virginia forward. It does nothing to further that profession. It’s meanspirited,” Democratic senator Mike Caputo said, according to the Hill.
Rucker and Caputo disagreed on whether the legislation intended to retaliate against teachers for striking in 2018 and 2019.
“This is not a retaliatory bill. This is about making certain our kids, our most precious resource continue to be our priority,” Rucker said.
“I think it’s in retaliation for people standing up for what they believed in,” Caputo said.
The West Virginia Education Association, which represents teachers in the state, also opposed the bill.
IMAGE: West Virginia Education Association/Facebook