West Virginia public schools close over teacher walkouts
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Public schools across West Virginia are closed Thursday after teachers staged walkouts to demand higher wages. 

All of West Virginia’s 55 counties canceled school due to staff shortages as teachers stage a two-day walkout, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

More than 1,000 demonstrators are at the picket line in front of the Capitol building in Charleston chanting “Fed up, fired up!”

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Earlier this month, teachers staged a similar protest over low wages and proposed rules that would eliminate teacher seniority after the state Senate failed to bump a proposed pay raise to 3 percent. 

Late Wednesday night, Gov. Jim Justice (R) granted teachers a 2 percent pay increase that would take effect in July, followed by additional 1 percent increases over the next two years. 

However, union officials still want better benefits and health care to reflect the state’s financial situation. 

“I don't believe that any of our school employees are really buying what's being said, especially when there are personal attacks and all these things from different directions," American Federation of Teachers West Virginia President Christine Campbell said in a newsletter for union members.

The work stoppages could have consequences for teachers and school employees, including being denied pay, suspended, fired or barred from teaching in public school for a year, the Gazette-Mail reported.