Republicans In W. Virginia Tried Giving Teachers Smaller Raise Than Agreed On, Accidentally Approve Bigger One

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Republicans in West Virginia tried to pull a fast one on striking teachers, voting on a bill that would have given them a raise smaller than what the parties had agreed upon.

But they failed to read their bill closely enough, instead accidentally voting to give them a larger raise.

The West Virginia State Senate on Saturday voted to give teachers across the state a raise that would bring an end to a week-long strike. As The Hill reported, the state House and Republican Governor Jim Justice had agreed that all teachers would receive a 5 percent raise, but when state Senate Republicans drew up a bill, they only offered a 4 percent raise instead.

That is where it got even weirder. As the local reports noted, Republicans accidentally voted on the original bill, one that would give teachers the full 5 percent raise. By the time they realized the mistake it was too late, and the bill had already passed. That sent lawmakers scrambling to try to repeal the law they had just passed, all while Democrats were cheering for the accidental vote, The Hill noted.

Republicans eventually figured out the proper parliamentary procedures and reversed the bill. They then voted on the 4 percent raise, passing it and putting the situation back in limbo.

West Virginia teachers, students and supporters hold signs on a Morgantown street.
Featured image credit: Spencer PlattGetty Images

As CNN noted, all of the state’s nearly 22,000 teachers have been on strike since February 22, demanding a 5 percent bump in pay before they would return to work. They have also said that premiums for the state health insurance plan are too high and eating into their already small salaries. Teachers in West Virginia are among the lowest-paid in the nation, the report added.

After Senate Republicans repealed their own bill giving a 5 percent raise, the future of the teacher strike remains murky, CNN noted. Teachers have insisted that they will not return to work without a 5 percent raise, and representatives from both sides are expected to come together on Sunday to try to forge a path forward. But many predicted that the impasse would cause the strike to extend further and keep children out of school for what will now be a second straight week.