Manchin hits W.Va. state Senate Republicans over teachers strike

Manchin hits W.Va. state Senate Republicans over teachers strike
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOn The Money: Cain 'very committed' to Fed bid despite opposition | Pelosi warns no US-UK trade deal if Brexit harms Irish peace | Ivanka Trump says she turned down World Bank job Cain says he won't back down, wants to be nominated to Fed Pro-life Christians are demanding pollution protections MORE (D-W.Va.) on Monday blamed Republicans in the state Senate for an ongoing teachers' strike that has kept public schools across West Virginia closed for more than a week.

“Sadly, just like in Washington, it looks like political gamesmanship is winning the day & preventing a bipartisan compromise led by the Governor to help our educators & public employees, fix our PEIA system & get students learning again from becoming law,” Manchin tweeted.

“I urge the Senate Republican leadership to stop playing games and send our kids back to school,” he added. 

West Virginia teachers extended their strike into its eighth school day in a row on Monday as they continue to fight with state lawmakers for wage increases. The strike began on Feb. 22 in response to low wages amid skyrocketing health insurance costs. 

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The governor and teachers’ union reached an agreement to end the strike last week that included a 5 percent pay raise. However, the state Senate voted to cut the pay raise, causing the strike to march on.

All public schools in the state’s 55 counties will remain closed until the strike is resolved. The closure is affecting nearly 277,000 students and 35,000 employees, The Associated Press reported.

Nearly one-quarter of all children are living in poverty in West Virginia, so teachers packed hundreds of food bags for students in need even as they were on strike.