West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Senate Republicans reached a tentative deal on Tuesday to end a nine-day statewide teachers' strike by giving them 5% raises—and adding similar raises for all state workers while they're at it. Justice said additional budget cuts by his staff will fund the raises. Senate leaders confirmed the deal. The governor, union leaders, and the House of Delegates had agreed last week to the 5% pay raise for teachers, who are among the lowest paid in the nation and haven't had a salary increase in four years. But the Senate refused to go along, approving a 4% increase.
Some teachers cheered in the hallways of the Capitol after the governor announced the news. Others waiting inside the meeting room indicated they're wary of getting excited until House and Senate majorities approve the deal. "We've been down this road before," said West Virginia Education Association President Dale Lee. However, Senate leaders said they're on board this time, per the AP. "These are deep cuts," Sen. Craig Blair, Finance Committee chairman, said Tuesday. "This has been the fiscally responsible thing to do, in my opinion, to get us to the point we're at today."