CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The governor of West Virginia said on Tuesday that teachers and educators will receive a 5 percent salary increase and that striking teachers will return to work on Thursday.
The deal came on the fourth day of a strike by West Virginia teachers as thousands of people rushed back to the State Capitol to protest bad wages.
"My commitment to education has been the same since day one," said Governor Jim Justice on Twitter. He said that all other government employees would receive an increase of 3 percent this year.
A teachers group said on Facebook that "schools will be recalled on Wednesday for a cooling off period and resumed on Thursday."
On Tuesday Chanted a large crowd in front of the state Senate loud slogans – including "United we stood!" And "Where is justice?" and waved homemade posters as a strike, which began last Thursday.
"We're fed up, enough is enough," said Jamie Heflin, 38, a single mom teaching at the Lenore K-8 school in Williamson. "We're tired of disrespect."
The four-day The strike had left more than a quarter of it a million students outside the class in the state's 55 counties, with some officials at a loss.
"Public work stoppages are not allowed in West Virginia and will negatively impact student education and class time," West Virginia Superintendent of Schools said, Steven Paine said in a statement last week.
"I encourage our educators to work for the benefits they deserve, but to seek ways of action that have the least disruption to our students."
The average salary for teachers in West Virginia ranks 48th, according to the National Education Association. Organizers of the protests said many teachers are forced to accept a second job just to make ends meet.
"We can do your jobs for less and less money," said Carmen Soltesz, 37, a middle school teacher of social studies in Williamson, who has been in the job for a decade.
The strike began one day after Governor Jim Justice signed a bill that allowed teachers and some other government officials to raise 4 percent within three years. They would receive an increase of 2 percent from July, followed by a 1 percent increase in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, a press release said.
This legislation was harshly criticized by the teachers' unions and their members, who considered the wage increases too stingy. The increases, they say, would not cover the cost of living and rising healthcare costs.
"The proposed salary increase … does not even keep us from other states," said Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association.
A justice spokesman did not respond immediately to a request for commentary on Tuesday afternoon
During the strike, food banks helped provide lunch for students who reportedly needed school meals, and Lee persisted despite all Inconvenience That Teachers Have "Community Support"
"You see families throwing away water, food and pizzas," Lee said. "It's the same everywhere in the state."
Ron Allen reported on Charleston and Daniel Arkin of New York.