Mercer County educators meet on potential strike vote

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Mercer County educators meet on potential strike vote
By Mike McCullough, WV MetroNews

PRINCETON, W.Va. — The home side of Princeton Senior High School’s gymnasium was full Monday as concerned educators gathered ahead of a potential strike authorization vote.

Mercer County Education Association President Allen Kade took the microphone answering questions and addressing concerns.

“There’s so much misinformation about strikes on social media. It’s also to gauge where we are as a body. I kind of wanted just to gauge where we are, what people are thinking.”

A previous MetroNews report indicates frustrations are growing over approved changes in the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA) plan for the next fiscal year for state employees.

Also, a recent proposal by Governor Justice to increase teacher salaries by one percent each of the next five years has not been met with approval among most educators.

Kade said there are mixed emotions among faculty but many seem to be passionate.

“It’s peoples’ jobs, it’s peoples’ lives. Most of us teachers are living check to check and so when we have to take a day because we have to take a stand for the future then that’s money out of our pocket. A lot of us need that money.”

It was also announced that a town hall meeting will be held on February 10 at 10 am at the Chuck Mathena Center in Princeton.

Multiple delegates and state senators have been invited to that event, according to Kade. He hopes that while many teachers came to Monday’s event, even more will come to the town hall.

“I am pleased to see that many people. It’s good to see that many people who care about kids and who are frustrated and understand that we need to do something. We need to be proactive.”

Similar meetings are being held across West Virginia throughout this week. An authorization vote could come soon, giving teachers in each county the power to individually decide whether or not to strike.