UPDATE: Clay County teachers plan to participate in five-county work stoppage

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CLAY COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 2/15/18 @ 11:35 p.m.
Clay County teachers have decided to join a work stoppage Friday with four other local counties to take a stand against their pay and insurance costs.

Educators in Cabell, Lincoln, Mason and Wayne counties also will participate in the one-day work stoppage, prompting those counties to call off school for the day.



UPDATE 2/14/18 @ 6:10 p.m.
School is cancelled on Friday in Cabell, Lincoln, Mason and Wayne counties after teachers there voted Tuesday night for a work stoppage.

Without hundreds of teachers, administrators were left with few other options. Now thousands of parents are scrambling to find options for themselves.

Some like Beth Page said they support the teachers, but don't necessarily support the stoppage.

Page works long hours at K & D Family Diner in Mason County. She's got two daughters up the road at Beale Elementary.

"It's difficult to find a babysitter at the last minute," she said.

Beale, like all the others in Mason and three neighboring counties, will no longer have school on Friday.

"I support the teachers but I don’t think they should just walk out," Page said.

She hopes other relatives can step in, because she's scheduled to work Friday. If they can't, she'll have to call off.

"I'd be upset."

Page's mother, Debbie Matthews, also works at the Diner and cares for her 14-year-old granddaughter.

"I understand why they're doing it, but …"

Matthews said everyone deserves better pay and benefits, but she doesn’t like kids having to miss school.

"Because they're missing out on education."

She says if it works a one-day work stoppage is worth it, but isn't sure it will. Her granddaughter will be staying home alone Friday.

"I call home a lot," she said with a smile.

Union leaders tell WSAZ the vote Tuesday night gives authority to call additional work stoppages in the future.

A large rally is planned for Saturday in Charleston.

Page said she thinks the teachers are doing a good job, but wants them to stay in the classroom so her kids can stay in the classroom and she can stay at work.

"Sad that it's come to this,” she said.

Friday is the only day that school has been cancelled.

Page said she's not sure what she will do if there's a long term work stoppage and, with four counties looking at a Friday without school, she’s not alone.



UPDATE 2/14/18 @ 3:05 p.m.
Officials with Lincoln County Schools say classes will be cancelled on Friday due to a one-day work stoppage.



UPDATE 2/14/18 @ 1:45 p.m.
According to Superintendent Todd Alexander, Wayne County Schools will be closed on Friday for a planned one-day work stoppage.

Classes will resume on Monday, February 19. The missed day of instruction will be made up on June 13.



UPDATE 2/14/18 @ 11:55 p.m.
Public schools in Cabell County will be closed on Friday.

Leaders with Cabell County Schools say they have been informed by the district's employee associations that a districtwide employee work stoppage has been planned.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 2/14/18 @ 9:30 a.m.
Mason County is now adding to the list of schools closing for Friday because of a planned work-stoppage.

The Mason County Superintendent confirms to WSAZ that the teacher's unions met Tuesday night and all of them gave approval for the work-stoppage.

The superintendent says because of a lack of supervision at the school, they have decided to cancel classes for Friday.

Wayne, Cabell and Lincoln counties all decided at a meeting on Tuesday to declare a work-stoppage for Friday.

WSAZ is still working to confirm with all three counties that school will be canceled on Friday because of the work-stoppage.

UPDATE 2/13/18 @ 10:20 p.m.
There will be no school for several counties in West Virginia this Friday.

Following many protests, rallies and walk-ins at schools across the state over concerns about Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) raises and wage increases -- area educators gathered Tuesday night at Spring Valley High School to put their words into action.

The AFT and WVEA hosted a closed-door meeting at Spring Valley High School. Hundreds of Cabell and Wayne educators filed in Tuesday evening.

"And we were pleasantly surprised with Lincoln County,” said Amy Neal, president of Cabell AFT 6340. “They’re going to join us in a work stoppage on Friday. Mason is meeting as we speak, and there's another county who may join us. Because we are here to tell them we are done."

Tuesday's message was simple – Gov. Jim Justice's recent decision to freeze PEIA plans -- isn't enough.

"We want insurance,” Neal said. “Don't freeze it."

Vera Miller, president of the Cabell County Education Association, said, "We want to be in our classrooms, we want to provide education for our students, but we also need to pay our bills."

Neal went on to say, "We truly need our pay raise, we truly need our insurance. Everyone needs good insurance, seniority, we're just fighting for our jobs that I think have been taken for granted for too long."

And it's not just those in the classroom.

Neal said all public school employees are “in this together,” whether they're a teacher, a school bus driver, a secretary or a custodian.

Miller agreed, saying, “What we want to achieve is say 'hey, listen to us.' "

And while it's a one-day stoppage, students will have to make up the day.

"We may get paid, we may not,” Miller said. “We don’t know … We've got nothing to lose at this point."

Wayne County Schools Superintendent Todd Alexander issued this statement:

“This work stoppage will impact the school schedule. Wayne County Schools will announce the status of the school schedule on Wednesday, February 14, 2018. We want to emphasize that the scheduled work stoppage is one day only. We encourage parents to visit the county website at wayneschoolswv.org for the latest updates regarding the school schedule."

Cabell County Superintendent Jedd Flowers said they expect to issue a statement on Wednesday. We'll keep you posted on other counties in our coverage area.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY
Teachers from three counties are planning a work stoppage this Friday.

It was announced during a closed-door meeting Tuesday evening at Spring Valley High School.

Teachers from Cabell, Lincoln and Wayne counties plan to participate in the work stoppage.

Hundreds attended the meeting hosted by the AFT and WVEA.

Mason County is expected to vote on the matter later Tuesday night.

Teachers have expressed concerns over stagnant wages and changes to their Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) coverage.



 
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