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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


More than 1,200 teachers, paraprofessionals and school support staff will be on strike Wednesday in a job action against the government that has been threatened for weeks.
The teachers and union leadership vowed to remain out until a new agreement is reached between the American Federation of Teachers Locals 1825 and 1826 and the Virgin Islands government.
On St. Croix, striking teachers had already taken up positions Wednesday morning in front of Arthur A. Richards and John H. Woodson Junior High Schools.
Meanwhile, public school students on all three islands will be affected, along with the rest of the community.
"I anticipate that this strike will have a big impact in the community," Tyrone Molyneaux, president of the AFT Local 1826, said Wednesday morning.
"From the students' education to parents, teachers' pay, make-up days…all will be affected," he said, restating the union's position that "the strike was the last option at the union's disposal."
In a broadcast interview, Molyneaux accused the administration of having an unfriendly attitude toward the union.
"When you consider the number of educators now employed by the Legislature and the administration, you expected more," he said.
The strike comes as senators and the governor's fiscal team have been meeting daily to discuss the viability of several measures to satisfy the AFT's demands.
Molyneaux dodged questions about plans by the picketing teachers to march on Government House, the Senate and Education Department headquarters in both districts.
The Education Department has been equally silent on any contingency plans to accommodate students during the strike.
Gov. Charles Turnbull, meanwhile, said a strike was "not in the best interest of the children of the territory."
He said his administration has negotiated in "good faith," but added that considering the government's economic situation it may be difficult to assuage teachers.
"It's difficult, if not impossible, to find the monies we need," Turnbull said. "Nonetheless, we need to keep trying."

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