NC teachers back governor’s choice to veto pay-raise bills

Published: Nov. 8, 2019 at 6:34 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Friday in Raleigh, Governor Roy Cooper demanded higher pay for the state’s public-school staff.

He vetoed bills offering pay increases, saying they were not enough.

Friday, Charlotte educators stood behind that decision, holding a press conference under the message, “don’t give in.”

Teacher Amanda Thompson has been working with this group of educators in her role with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators. After seeing action in Mecklenburg county for pay increases, she believes it is time for things to get moving on the state level.

“I think that Governor Cooper is standing for us, so we support him,” she said. “I can’t say, ‘Oh my God, I’m mad at him,’ because I’m not upset with him. He’s working for us because he knows we deserve better.”

Friday, Cooper called for teachers like her to demand negotiations on what he calls a “real” pay raise for educators, and for legislators to propose one.

"I stand here today willing to negotiate, right now,” he said.

Cooper said he wants to start fresh with negotiations.

Originally, his first budget requested a 9.1 percent average raise. Then, a compromise included 8.5 percent over two years. Republicans proposed a two percent raise for teachers in 2019-2020, and 1.8 percent from 20-21.

Senate Leader Phil Berger tweeted Friday, firing back at Cooper’s Friday vetoes, writing in part, “Governor Cooper uses teachers as pawns, blocking their pay increases then trying to convince them it’s all the Republicans’ fault. At some point, they’ll see his cynical ploy for what it really is.”

Meanwhile, the group of Charlotte teachers is ready to see the back-and-forth end.

“It’s all about action,” Thompson said. “If Governor Cooper said five times in the interview this morning he’s willing to negotiate, we need to see that negotiation.”

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