Community: One of 55 Strong Honored by Democratic Women’s Club

Blue Skies Ahead, APAC of the Greenbrier County Democratic Women’s Club presented a plaque this afternoon (September 11, 2018) to Sandy Beale, President of the Greenbrier County Education Association. It reads in part,

“for her excellent leadership of the education employees of Greenbrier County during the walkout of 2018”.

Pictured above: (from left to right) House Delegate Jeff Campbell, Sandy Beale, Diane Browning, President of Blue Skies Ahead, and Kathy Martin, retired WVEA representative currently on the BSA staff.

During what Ms. Beale called one of the most stressful times in her life, she acted as liaison for Greenbrier County teachers who were striking on behalf not only of teachers but all school service personnel. Teachers in all 55 WV counties came together and supported the union in the need for the strike, which Beale says came after years of asking for a pay raise and being denied, with the final straw being a lack of funding for PEIA, (Public Employees Insurance Agency). After a teacher strike in 1990, WV went from being 48th to 32nd in teacher pay, but the intervening years had wiped away those gains. Beale said the Republican-led legislature kept saying there is “no money, no money” even after the Governor “found some money”, and that Democratic delegates and senators stood with the teachers in demanding the raise.

Beale says teachers are not growing complacent, there will be a rally in Charleston on Sept. 16 to let legislators know teachers are watching, and there is a “Remember in November” campaign focusing on the midterm election. They are also keeping an eye on the Governor’s 29 member commission tasked with solving the PEIA funding shortfall, and Beale says “we are 55 strong and prepared if the task force fails to follow through”.

– Tenley Shewmake, HashtagWV September 2018.

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