The West Virginia state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that makes strikes by teachers and other public employees illegal.
On a 21-12 vote, the Senate passed a bill which reads: “West Virginia public employees have no right, legal or otherwise, to engage in collective bargaining, mediation or arbitration, and any public employee strike or stoppage is hereby declared illegal.
The bill comes after teachers in West Virginia went on strike for nine days in 2018 and again for two days in 2019..
The bill says teachers who participate in a strike must be fired, and if they are not, the county board of education must withhold teacher pay for the days they participated in the strike.
Schools also cannot close in anticipation of strikes. If they do, extracurricular activities must also be canceled during the day.
“This bill simply clarifies that it was not the intention of the Legislature to facilitate illegal work stoppages. This is not a retaliation bill. It’s about making sure that our children, our most precious resource, continue to be our priority, ”said Republican. Said Senate Education Chair Patricia Rucker.
Some Democrats in the state Senate criticized the bill.
“This bill does nothing to move West Virginia forward. It does nothing to promote that profession. He is of average spirit. I think it’s retaliation for people who defend their beliefs, “said State Senator Mike Caputo (D).
There is an identical bill in the House of Delegates that has yet to pass. The bill has to be passed in the House and signed by the governor to become law.