CHARLESTON — While delegates debated amendments to the teacher pay raise bill, teacher union leaders held a press conference a few yards away to announce teachers are on the threshold of a statewide strike.

Local branches of the American Federation of Teachers West Virginia and the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA) overwhelmingly voted during a meeting Feb. 11 in Flatwoods to authorize a statewide action, said WVEA President Dale Lee.

But the strike won’t hinge on money alone, he said. The union members want to see legislative progress on four topics: A pay hike to get salaries competitive with other states, a long-term fix to Public Employees Insurance Agency problems, stopping the elimination of seniority as the primary factor in reduction in force issues, and a halt on action on legislation concerning payroll deduction of union dues.