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Feb 22, 11:18 AM EST

West Virginia teachers strike over pay, benefits

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia teachers have gone on strike over pay and benefits one day after the governor signed raises for them.

Classes at public schools were canceled Thursday in all 55 counties as teachers walked out over low pay, small increases and projected increases in insurance costs.

Thousands of teachers arrived at the Capitol in Charleston in a show of solidarity and to pressure lawmakers who are still considering other proposals that would help them.

Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday night signed a 2 percent raise next year for teachers, followed by 1 percent raises the following two years.

In addition, the Public Employees Insurance Agency has agreed to freeze premiums and rates for the next fiscal year for teachers and other public workers.

West Virginia teacher pay ranks 48th nationally.

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