February 8, 2018
(Charleston, WV) -WVSSPA attended the Governors Press Conference concerning the issues that Service Personnel are facing. We have informed the Governor that the 17 month freeze on PEIA is a starting point but it is just that, a starting point. We also voiced our concern that together we can work this out but it has to be together. The allocated 29 million dollar base building is a great start, but the funding source must be priority. The Governor agreed that this needs to be worked on, and to give him time.
We also voiced our concern that the pay raise that the House of Delegates finance committee passed yesterday is by far the better deal. We agree with Speaker Armstead that the funding is there for 2% first year and 1% second year for service personnel. While this is neither what we want nor what we have asked for, it is indeed better than what was first proposed. This amendment was passed in the House Finance Committee with a unanimous vote. We will always advocate for more. It has always been our position that a pay raise should be across the board when service personnel make so little. We agree that teachers deserve to be fairly compensated for the great work that they do and should not rank at the bottom of the national pay scale, however our main objective is to the service personnel who “serve the children” of our great state.
President Thompson voiced to the Governor that “I would like for you to mention service personnel, we have been left out for over 25 years.” Governor Justice apologized for not mentioning service personnel and said you are right.
WVSSPA believes that this is a start. It is not complete by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a beginning. It is a starting place and we look forward to more open conversations with the Governor and the Legislators.