Yesterday, teachers in West Virginia ended a heated nine-day strike in which they bargained for a 5 percent pay increase for all state employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teachers in West Virginia are the fifth lowest paid in the country, earning an average of $45,240 — but Oklahoma actually holds the title for the lowest paid teachers in the country.
In Oklahoma, the average annual income for a high school teacher is $42,460. Many make much less.
Larry Cagle, who teaches an Advanced Placement course at Edison Preparatory School in Tulsa, says he makes just $34,500 a year working for one of the best schools in the state. Inspired by the collective bargaining in West Virginia, he is organizing a group of Oklahoma teachers to begin a strike of their own.
"I am struggling to pay my bills," he tells the Los Angeles Times. "A student graduating from my class can become a QuikTrip full-time employee a year, two years later, making more than me."
According to Indeed, assistant store managers at QuikTrip in Oklahoma –a local gas station and convenience store chain — make approximately $60,774 a year. Other figures suggest that assistant QuikTrip managers in Oklahoma earn closer to $44,018 a year. Either way, it is likely that in Oklahoma, many gas station employees are out-earning teachers.