West Virginia teachers return to classroom

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.

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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.

associated press