Teachers call statewide strike for Feb. 22-23

CHARLESTON — West Virginia is headed for a statewide strike of teacher and service personnel Feb. 22-23.

The dates were announced at the end of a rally in persistent drizzle at the state Capitol, where the crowd stretched from the top of the steps across to the edge of the Kanawha River, with a sea of public employees surrounding the statue of “Lincoln Walks at Midnight.”

“We’ve been trying to negotiate with the House, the Senate and the governor. But it’s clear the negotiations are going nowhere,” Dale Lee, president of the West Virginia Education Association, told the crowd as hundreds cheered and chanted. “So, therefore, we are asking you to join us this Thursday and Friday in the first statewide walkout.”

Christine Campbell, president of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, followed up:

“Thursday. Friday. The entire state of West Virginia will be shut down.

“We’ll be here Thursday. We’ll be here Friday. And if it takes more than that, we’ll be here until we see action.”

This is the first time teachers have gone on strike in West Virginia since a statewide walkout in 1990.