Teachers' Walkout of 1980

Official Journal of the Senate State of West Virginia, Sixty-fourth Legislature,
Regular Sixty- Day (and Extended) Session, 1980
. Vol. II.

Increasing Salaries for Teachers


Monday, March 3, 1980

MR. SUSMAN: "Mr. President and members of the Senate, on Saturday we had a large number of teachers throughout the State of West Virginia who converged on the Capitol, concerned about the various legislative matters that we are about to enact before the end of this session. The number one issue was the salary situation.

"Mr. President, I have been around these halls now for about ten years and this group, in my opinion, was the most disorderly group that we have had in this Capitol to date. As far as the students in their classrooms, I am sure these same teachers would not approve of the kind of action they displayed here. Particularly, Mr. President, I want to apologize to any member of the Senate who may have been abused by some of the people from Raleigh County. I came in contact with a few of those teachers and, Mr. President, they were most hostile, ugly and just plain rude. I am sure, Mr. President and members of the Senate, the large majority of the teachers in Raleigh County would not condone this kind of rudeness by any group representing them in this Senate or the House of Delegates.

"Mr. President and members of the Senate, we come in contact with a lot of legislation that affects a number of people. I can recall the black lung legislation so far as the coal miners are concerned; some of the health and safety areas we have gotten into as to the coal miners; some of the senior citizen problems and some of the consumer groups that have converged upon this Capitol when we talked about legislation of interest to them. But never have I seen a group as disrespectful as this group here on Saturday.

"Mr. President, if the teachers in Raleigh County who were here on Saturday are displeased with Alan Susman, so be it. But I think they should have respect for the Senate; they should have respect for the House; they should have respect for the Legislature; and they should have respect for the building that houses this group. Mr. President, sometimes we wonder why maybe some of our young people do not have the proper respect in the areas that we feel they should.

"Now, Mr. President and members of the Senate, we all know that this kind of lobbying is detrimental to anyone's actions as far as favorable consent by this body. I do not know, Mr, President, what group was responsible for bringing these teachers to the Capitol on Saturday, but if this is the kind of method of operation they condone, I feel that they should 'clean up their act' if they want to be effective."


MR. GILLIGAN: "Mr. President, I would like to add to the remarks by the gentleman from Raleigh County. I, too, was attacked viciously by sixty or seventy teachers from our district, and I am quite ashamed of their reaction, although my shame is not because of the teachers. It is because of what the teachers were told. They were told that this body refused to accept an amendment to the teachers salary bill raising the salary $1200 per year. Mr. President, I thought I was able to convince those teachers that what they were told was not true but everybody who voted for the budget bill which preceded the teachers salary bill locked in seven percent no matter what the teachers pay-raise bill said. The seven percent in the budget was all they were going to get, and I said to these teachers, 'Look and see who voted for the budget bill'. They looked and they found that there were only three members of this body who voted against the budget bill - the lady from Ohio, the gentleman from Hancock and the gentleman from Roane. Everybody else voted for the budget bill, and when we came to the amendment on the teachers salary bill, those of us who voted against that, knowingly and willingly, hoped that the teachers would at least get a pay raise of seven percent, or something not less than that. We tried to do it honestly and aboveboard but were accused of denying them $1200. Mr. President, I resent that. I am glad that my wife got seven percent instead of six percent, and I think every teacher in West Virginia will understand that I voted for the budget bill and locked in their seven percent. There was no use fooling them by voting for an amendment to raise it above the teachers salary bill because it would not have happened."


West Virginia Archives and History