‘No one wants to go any longer than this,’ Kanawha County teacher, union official says of planned two-day walkouts

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‘No one wants to go any longer than this,’ Kanawha County teacher, union official says of planned two-day walkouts
By MetroNews Staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In addition to pay and benefits, a Kanawha County math teacher says the planned statewide walkout this Thursday and Friday for teachers and school service workers across West Virginia is about respect.

“It’s to preserve and hold the promise for public education,” said Fred Albert, a 6th grade math teacher at Kanawha County’s Dupont Middle School and president of Kanawha County’s West Virginia American Federation of Teachers chapter.

Wendy Peters, a 3rd grade teacher at Daniels Elementary School and president of the West Virginia Education Association’s Raleigh County chapter, agreed.

“There’s so many things that our members and our teachers and service personnel are upset about,” she said citing the paycheck protection bill, school vouchers and possible changes to educator seniority among others.

Both Peters and Albert were guests on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline” before an appearance from Senate President Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson, 04) who repeatedly lauded ground-level teachers while criticizing “union bosses.”

“These union leaders are disappointed in the reform efforts we’re trying to make to move West Virginia forward and, frankly, they don’t even really express exactly what they want,” Carmichael said.

“I think they just want to strike.”

On Monday, Carmichael echoed comments he and other Senate Republican leaders made during a sit-down interview with Brad McElhinny, MetroNews statewide correspondent.

As of Monday, teacher and school service worker walkouts were planned for Feb. 22 and Feb. 23.

The announcement about the walkouts came during this past Saturday’s massive State Capitol rally.

As for how long the walkouts could continue, “That will be up to the Legislature,” Peters said. “We’re kind of putting the ball in their court now. They need to start moving and doing some things. If we have to stay out longer, then we do.”

Albert said he thinks no one really wants to go longer than two days, “But we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it and, hopefully, we’ll get it resolved really soon.”