Senate Republicans in West Virginia last week added a measure to ban teacher strikes to their sweeping education proposal, a move criticized as revenge for high-profile walkouts by educators this year and last.
Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled chamber approved the amendment 17-14 with heavy opposition from Democrats, tacking it on to a broad-based bill that would also allow the state’s first charter schools.
Republican Sen. Charles Trump, the amendment’s sponsor, said it’s meant to keep schools running. He said that existing state law forbids strikes by public employees and that it’s not meant as retaliation for past teacher strikes.
The measure would deem a work stoppage as grounds for termination by a county board and would allow the boards to withhold the pay of striking employees.
Democrats argued that teachers have the constitutional right to protest.
The wide-ranging Republican education plan also would give teachers a pay raise and provide mental-health services for students.
A version of this article appeared in the June 12, 2019 edition of Education Week as W.Va. GOP Adds Teacher-Strike Ban To Overhaul Bill Creating Charters