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Q&A: West Virginia sees rare statewide teacher walkout

West Virginia’s teachers are refusing to go to school for a fourth day Tuesday in protest against the pay that is one of the lowest in the country.

Such statewide strikes are unusual, but not unprecedented. Most of the teacher labour disputes starts and ends at the level of the district, where teacher salaries are generally set. The strike in West Virginia has closed schools in all 55 municipalities.

West Virginia teachers take their battles with Republican Gov. Jim Justice and the Legislative power of the state, because it is one of the 17 states where the legislature is the management of the institution of the salary scale for the teachers. In the face of limited or no collective bargaining at the local level, the idea is to ensure that teachers are paid fairly, regardless of where in the state in which they teach.

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