In 2018, West Virginia teachers staged a statewide strike which lasted almost two weeks and included schools across all 55 countywide districts. The main reported strike issues for West Virginia teachers included cuts to their healthcare coverage by the state and relatively low salaries. Prior to the strike, West Virginia teachers ranked 48th in the nation in terms of pay. The West Virginia strike sparked a year-long wave of teacher labor protests across the country, in both predominately rural states and large urban centers. In 2019, West Virginia teachers went on strike again, bringing the movement full circle. In November, 2020, I interviewed Jay O’Neal and Sam Nelson, two teachers involved in the 2018 statewide teachers strike in West Virginia for the National Rural Education Association’s Annual Conference and Research Symposium. Jay O’Neal originated the Facebook page in 2017 that served as the hub for organizing activity prior to and during the 2018 strike. O’Neal is a middle school English and social studies teacher; Nelson is a high school English teacher.
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“We Acted Because it's What Needs to be Done: An Interview with West Virginia Teachers.
The Rural Educator, 42(1), 68-72.