West Virginia Senate passes education bill that says public worker strikes are unlawful

West Virginia Senate passes education bill that says public worker strikes are unlawful

The West Virginia Senate has reportedly passed an education bill that includes language that says public worker strikes are unlawful and that school workers can be fired if they go on strike. 

The measure, known as the Student Success Act, passed in a party line, 18-15, vote on Monday, according to The Charleston Gazette-Mail. GOP state Sens. Bill Hamilton and Kenny Mann joined Democrats in voting against the legislation. 

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The stipulations regarding strikes were included in a sweeping education reform bill that would legalize charter schools and raise compensation for public school employees, The Gazette-Mail noted. The newspaper added that the measure would also prevent county superintendents from closing school in anticipation of school worker strikes. 

The bill now will head to the West Virginia House of Delegates, which is scheduled to reconvene on June 17. It would have to be approved by the House and be signed by Gov. Jim Justice (R) to become law.

Senate Republicans in West Virginia amended the bill on Sunday to include language focused on strikes. The amendment also included language that would allow for compensation for school employees to be withheld during a strike. 

The amendment was approved in a 17-14 vote, The Gazette-Mail reported

Teachers around West Virginia have gone on strike in the past two years to protest their compensation. Teachers went on strike for nine days in 2018 before earning a 5 percent raise across the state. 

Teachers went on strike in February to protest new state legislation which would increase the number of vouchers for charter schools.

A number of schools shut down during the strike.