Republicans in West Virginia's state Senate moved Sunday to amend an education bill to include tougher anti-strike language both the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Charlotte Observer have reported.
Both the state Senate's Democratic minority and the state's teachers view the move as retaliation by the GOP for strikes both this past February and last year by teachers across the state.
The new language, if it were to become law, would make striking a fire able offense and give county boards the ability to withhold pay from striking teachers. Crucially, the law would also prohibit county superintendents from cancelling school prior to a strike in anticipation of teacher absences, a tactic that allowed teacher unions to avoid having to officially declare illegal strikes in the past two years.
Teachers unions are also upset about language in the bill that ties teacher raises to the authorization of the state's first charter school and a similar bill following closely behind which institutes a non-public school voucher program in the state.
UPDATE: The bill has been passed and signed into law.