West Virginia: 300 teachers call in sick in pay dispute

Morgontown High School
Morgontown High

As strikes are illegal, hundreds of school workers in Monongalia County went on sick-out on Tuesday giving school children the day off as all state schools were forced to shut.

Submitted by Steven. on March 8, 2007

The evening previously about 30 teachers in Brooke County demonstrated at the county schools office. These teachers received praise in the press, as opposed to the vitriol dished out on the Monongalia strikers.

Of the sick out, Ry Rivard wrote on da.wvu.edu that county superintendent Frank Devonoit said was not clear how many were protesting and how many were actually sick.

There are about 1,500 teachers and staff in the county.

Because organised strikes are illegal, the ''sick out'' was conducted informally, and no organization took responsibility.

The county plans to begin an investigation today of who was out and why.
''We're in the process of asking these people for a verification of their absence,'' Devono said.
''Well that's going to be a problem, because in terms of prior practice, in terms of all the years Mon County has been holding school, and never have they ever required a doctor's note for a one-day illness,'' said Frank Delaney, the co-vice president of the county American Federation of Teachers.

''If someone gets disciplinary action leveled against them, there will probably be a grievance,'' he said.

A science teacher at Clay Batelle High School, Delaney said he was out sick.
''I don't like to miss school so, no, I didn't enjoy today. I don't take sick days, but I did today,'' he said.

Gov. Joe Manchin met with teachers organizations in Charleston Tuesday and said he was not opposed to a pay raise larger than the 2.5 percent he proposed in January.

''The governor made it clear to us that he was not wed to the 2.5-percent proposal from his State of the State Address,'' said the state's AFT's Political Director Joshua Sword.

The AFT wants a $10,000 raise over three years, including a $5,000 raise next year. The governor's proposal would give a teacher making $38,000 less than a thousand dollars. The state's Senate is considering legislation that would raise their pay 3.5 percent.