A statewide walkout has been announced for teachers and other state employees for Thursday and Friday next week.
A statewide teacher work stoppage has been announced for Thursday and Friday.
The PEIA finance board held three public hearings within the last week discussing the proposal to freeze the plan in its current state for the upcoming 17 months.
The West Virginia House has voted to apply $29 million from the state's rainy day fund to freeze insurance rates for teachers and state workers for the next fiscal year. The announcement was made during a weekend rally at the state Capitol in Charleston.
"Through the work they are doing and through their own advocacy for themselves and really the future of their own profession, it's inspiring educators across the country", she said.
"Even in its current state it's not great".
Nancy Jamison, a school employee from Monongalia County, said she has been working in the public school system for 26 years as a secretary and the proposed 2 percent pay raise will only raise her wages about 19 cents a day.
"Now you tell me, but I don't think that's at all sufficient to cover the cost of living", Jamison said. "I know that my delegates actually make half as much in two months as I make in six months, so I am here demanding them to find a way to not only fully fund PEIA, but also put together a substantial pay raise". Ferns said he expects the Senate to act on the pay raise bill early this week and the PEIA bill is still moving through the Legislature.
Lee expressed to the crowd his agitation with legislators.
"What our proud, fearless and courageous educators are doing here in West Virginia is inspiring colleagues all over this country to stand up and say enough", she said.
"But then what do they do?" he asked. "They ignore us and tell us to just wait, and better times are coming". We know our salary wasn't guaranteed to be wonderful, but when our insurance just keeps going up, up, up, and they say 'We'll give you a one percent raise.' Well my insurance went up like five percent.
"They are pushing things like charter schools - and those things don't help public education; all it does is take funding away from our much-needed public schools". We must do all we can for the children of this state.
"Prior to Sunday, February 11, the employees of Wood County Schools voted to authorize our state leaders to call for statewide action if they deemed it necessary", said WVEA President Bruce Boston.
"We live it, breathe it, and struggle with it every day for that year and beyond", Campbell added.