Newsletter April 2018

 

Stoppage 2018

From your Co-President Jason Crouch

This was a historic year for activism in education for West Virginia.  WVEA, AFT-WV, and WVSSPA work together to have the first statewide educational employee work stoppage from Feb. 22-March 6.  All 55 counties were closed.  We filled the capitol, worked picket lines, and even fed our students during this nine days.  You all deserve a GOOD JOB and CONGRATULATIONS!  We achieved a PEIA Task Force with a moratorium on changes, 5% pay raise for all state employees, and got ride of all the bad education bills in the legislature.  We are #55 strong, and #55 united.

 

Fayette County Black Caucus

“Let Us Join Hands in Peach and Love”

The Fayette County Black Caucus is sponsoring their 40th annual Martin Luther King Memorial Luncheon on Saturday, April 28, 2018, 2pm at the Holiday Lodge, Oak Hill.  Reservations are $30. 

A check will be presented to outstanding African-American high school seniors, and also they will present the annual $750 scholarship to an African-American high school senior who is planning to further their education to become a teacher.

Reservations should be sent to one of the following:   Ms. Alma Logan, 2614 Scarbro Rd., Scarbro, WV 25917 or to Mr. Donald Kenney, PO Box 487, Mt. Hope, WV 25880.

 

Healthy Tomorrows Reporting for PEIA

On the reverse is a form that needs to be completed by your health care provider by the end of open enrollment.  It requires lab work. If it is not completed your deductible will increase by $500. Open enrollment ends May 15, 2018.

 

 

FCEA, AFT-Fayette, & WVSSPA Stilling Working Together

FCEA, AFT-Fayette, and WVSSPA leadership met on March 15 to decide who we would endorse for the 2018 Primary Election in May.  We will be working together on the 2018 General Election too.  We will be announcing our recommendations for the 32rd House of Delegates and 10th Senatorial districts. 

 

We have scheduled a joint panel for all three organizations to question the Fayette County Board of Education candidates on April 12, 2018 at 6pm at FHS.  All should attend.  The committee will then meet and make recommendations for FCBOE members.  

 

Reflections on the strike
Hoppy's Commentary | WV MetroNews

The strike by teachers and service workers that closed schools for nine days is over. Here are my takeaways:

–The five percent raise is substantial and fair.  If you count the experience increment for years one through 35, public school teachers will see about another $2,500 in their base pay starting next fiscal year.  Service workers, with their experience increment, will make around $1,400 more.

–State public employees did not strike, but they benefited from it, and from the Senate holdout. Had the Senate immediately gone along with the House last week public employees would have gotten a three percent raise. The Senate moved to equalize the raises and the compromise with the House eventually brought everybody up to five percent.

–The 55 county school superintendents played a critical role.  When the county superintendents last Friday agreed to continue calling off school until the Legislature passed the five percent raise, the gauntlet was thrown down.  None of the superintendents was willing to ask the State Attorney General to go to court to try to force the teachers and service workers back on the job.

–The teacher and service worker unions are back.  West Virginia’s labor movement has diminished significantly in recent years with the decline of the coal industry and the shift to a Republican controlled Legislature. However, the “55 United” campaign was an impressive show of force that effected change.  We will see if this was a singular event or representative of a rejuvenated labor movement.

–Senate President Mitch Carmichael and Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns took considerable heat during the strike. The pressure on them was immense. Teachers stationed outside the Senate chamber repeatedly chanted “vote them out” and “remember in November.” Ferns will have his hands full in November with a challenge from Democrat and former U.S. Attorney Bill Ihlenfeld.  Carmichael is not up until 2020.

–The strike was loud—really loud—but peaceful.  Yes, a few signs were rude and there were some over-the-line comments on social media, but the crowds at the Capitol and around the state were pretty well-behaved, especially considering that about 5,000 teachers and service workers flowed into the Capitol each day.

–The strike became a national story.  It took a few days, but the national media eventually started covering the strike closely.  Fortunately, the strike ended before the national media had a chance to set up camp here and make it an even bigger story.  I’m in the media, but when the national media descend on a story like this it just further complicates things and adds even more pressure.

–I sensed on Talkline and in my texts and emails some backlash to the settlement.  One texter wrote, “I am very disappointed that the Legislature caved to the demands of the hostage takers.”  Another wrote, “With this increase in teacher pay, how much will student test scores go up?” I have heard from a number of West Virginians—I don’t know the percentage—who were growing increasingly frustrated with the strike.

–What now?  I hate to dampen the euphoria over the settlement, but frankly, the five percent raise was the easy part.  Now stakeholders on the Governor’s task force have to try to figure out some long-term solutions to Public Employee Insurance Agency.  And that’s a challenge.

 

 

Justice urges PEIA task force to 'shake up the world'
By Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

Kicking off the first meeting of the Task Force on PEIA Stability, Gov. Jim Justice urged the 29-member panel to “shake up the world” and find lasting solutions to control rising costs for the health plan for more than 200,000 West Virginians.

“I’m wanting you to find a solution, and not wanting it to take forever,” Justice said Tuesday in brief introductory comments. “It is massively important to the state. This is a ticket number that’s gigantic, and it’s growing every day.”

Justice issued an executive order Feb. 28, in the midst of the statewide teacher strike, to create the panel in response to teachers’ demands for a “fix, not a freeze” on seemingly yearly PEIA premium increases and benefit cuts.

During the 38-minute organizational meeting, the panel of legislators, teachers union representatives, public employees and retirees, and “at-large” members with expertise in insurance or health care, voted to divide up into committees to focus on three areas:

  • Comprehensive plan review
  • Cost and revenue
  • Legislative and public outreach

Task force chairman Mike Hall, Justice’s chief of staff, called on the latter group to meet prior to the task force’s next meeting, on April 10, to begin scheduling public hearings around the state on the Public Employees Insurance Agency.

Read the rest of the article at https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/politics/justice-urges-peia-task-force-to-shake-up-the-world/article_f75285f9-bf51-5ce7-8a12-ef1cb3fe15f4.html

 

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© Terry White