CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia teachers returned to work as schools reopened Wednesday after winning a sizable pay increase through a massive mobilization that continued without a hitch as teachers stood their ground when lawmakers didn’t give them what they wanted.
A nine-day statewide strike was declared over Tuesday.
The Legislature passed and the governor then signed a 5 percent pay raise to end what’s believed to be
the longest strike in state history.
The last major strike, in 1990, lasted eight days.
The paralyzing walkout shut 277,000 students out of classrooms, forced their parents to scramble repeatedly for child care, and cast a national spotlight on government dysfunction in West Virginia.
The 35,000 public school employees, some of the lowest-paid in the nation, had gone four years without a salary increase.
They ignored the urging of their own union leaders and some politicians to return to school, remaining steadfast in their demands, which caught the nation’s attention.