AZ teachers wear red in push for pay raise; future strike a possibility

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

They didn't walk out of class demanding a pay raise, but thousands of Arizona teachers still sent a strong message Wednesday by wearing red.

"It's not just teachers. There are a lot of parents wearing red, and business leaders wearing red today," said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association. "When people see how widespread the awareness is around the issue, hopefully, we'll see change."

The Grassroots campaign #WearRedforEd follows in the footsteps of the West Virginia teachers strike that lasted nine days and came to an end this week, after lawmakers there agreed to increase teacher pay five percent.

West Virginia and Arizona both rank near the bottom nationwide when it comes to teacher salaries.

[RELATED: Arizona teachers plan a day of protest over low pay]

Marisol Garcia is an eighth-grade teacher in Phoenix's Isaac School District.

She said that watching teachers take a stand in West Virginia is spurring talk that the same thing could happen here.

"I think teachers, especially in Arizona, have been taking it on the chin for 13 years since I've been here," said Garcia. "After a while, we're getting beat up - we're done; we're ready to win and ready to move forward."

Organizers of the #WearRedfor Ed protest are calling this a "first step" in rallying teachers together and letting state lawmakers and the Governor know it's time to act because if they don't, a teacher strike in Arizona is a possibility.

"I think there are several other steps that need to take place before something like this were to occur," said high school teacher Amber Gould. "A lot more conversations, a lot more planning. I'm not saying it might not be in the future, but I think there is more organizing to do."

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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