West Virginia teachers settled their strike March 6 when they reached agreement with the Governor and Legislature giving them a 5 percent pay raise. But according to State Senate president Mitch Carmichael and Craig Blair, Senate Finance Committee chair, at least some of the $110 million yearly cost of the contract would come from Medicaid cuts.
Governor Jim Justice denied that claim, according to the New York Times. The Governor also proposed to address the issue of sharply rising health insurance costs through a state task force.
Reported the New York Times:
The pay raise was the main point of contention in the final days of the strike, but the teachers have also demanded some relief from sharply rising health insurance costs. The governor has promised to address that issue through a state task force. . .
Kerry Guerini, a teacher from Fayette County, . . . stood in the Capitol on Tuesday with a sign that said, “Will teach for insurance.”
“A 5 percent raise isn’t going to feel like very much when we have so much coming out for insurance,” Ms. Guerini said.
Mr. Carmichael told reporters that the scale of Medicaid cuts was “not absolutely determined,” because lawmakers were still “scouring the budget” for more places to cut.
(Fair-use excerpts are from copyrighted New York Times article, March 6, West Virginia Raises Teachers’ Pay to End Statewide Strike, by Jess Bidgood):
Blogger’s comment: The strike is settled, but the root cause of spiraling healthcare costs is not. As I blogged on March 1, until Americans take action on healthcare reform itself, there will be more strikes, more budget deficits, more greed and waste, and less money for education, infrastructure, defense, and investment.