West Virginia teachers' strike

It’s back to school in West Virginia. Teachers across this poor Appalachian mountain state are returning to the classroom Wednesday, March 7, jubilant after their governor signed a 5 percent pay raise ending their nine-day walkout.

Teachers expressed relief and exhilaration by breaking out into song Tuesday after legislators approved the pay raise bill that a conference committee agreed to hours earlier, ending their strike.

And now the state’s 35,000 public school employees can get to work — and 277,000 students, to the books.

The West Virginia teachers, some of the lowest-paid in the country, had gone without a salary increase for four years. They appeared to have strong public support throughout their walkout. (AP)

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<p>Teachers and school personnel celebrate after the state Senate approved a bill to increase state employee pay by 5 percent at the capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. The lawmakers unanimously approved the pay raises for teachers and troopers, after the governor reached a deal to end a teacher walkout that shuttered the state’s schools for nine days. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Teachers and school personnel celebrate after the state Senate approved a bill to increase state employee pay by 5 percent at the capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. The lawmakers unanimously approved the pay raises for teachers and troopers, after the governor reached a deal to end a teacher walkout that shuttered the state’s schools for nine days. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>State senators acknowledge the cheers of teachers and school personnel after the passage of a bill to increase pay of state employee by 5 percent at the capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

State senators acknowledge the cheers of teachers and school personnel after the passage of a bill to increase pay of state employee by 5 percent at the capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Teachers and school personnel celebrate after the state Senate approved a bill to increase state workers pay across the board by 5 percent at the capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Teachers and school personnel celebrate after the state Senate approved a bill to increase state workers pay across the board by 5 percent at the capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (Photo: Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Gov. Jim Justice signs a bill increasing state workers salaries by 5 percent during a news conference at the Culture Center after the House and Senate passed the bill earlier in the day in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. The settlement came on the ninth day of a crippling strike that idled hundreds of thousands of students, forced parents to scramble for child care and cast a spotlight on government dysfunction in one of the poorest states in the country. (Photo: Craig Hudson /Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Gov. Jim Justice signs a bill increasing state workers salaries by 5 percent during a news conference at the Culture Center after the House and Senate passed the bill earlier in the day in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. The settlement came on the ninth day of a crippling strike that idled hundreds of thousands of students, forced parents to scramble for child care and cast a spotlight on government dysfunction in one of the poorest states in the country. (Photo: Craig Hudson /Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Angie Cook a teacher from Milton W.Va., holds a sign outside the Senate Chambers in the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Monday, March 5, 2018. (Photo: Tyler Evert/AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Angie Cook a teacher from Milton W.Va., holds a sign outside the Senate Chambers in the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., Monday, March 5, 2018. (Photo: Tyler Evert/AP)

<p>Teachers hold a rally outside the Senate Chambers in the West Virginia Capitol Monday, March. 5, 2018 in Charleston, W.Va. (Photo: Tyler Evert/AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Teachers hold a rally outside the Senate Chambers in the West Virginia Capitol Monday, March. 5, 2018 in Charleston, W.Va. (Photo: Tyler Evert/AP)

<p>Vanessa Brown, a teacher from Cledenin W.Va., holds a sign with her hat as she waits to get into a teacher rally Monday, March 5, 2018, at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. (Photo: Tyler Evert/AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Vanessa Brown, a teacher from Cledenin W.Va., holds a sign with her hat as she waits to get into a teacher rally Monday, March 5, 2018, at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. (Photo: Tyler Evert/AP)

<p>Striking school workers hold signs and chant inside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. A week ago, thousands of public school teachers in West Virginia went out on strike, a rare but familiar union-organized action to protest low wages and rising health-care costs. Tuesday night, state union leaders and the Governor Jim Justice reached a deal, and the teachers were expected to be back at work on Thursday, but they didn’t go. Unsatisfied with the resolution, they stayed on the picket line, mounting one of the country’s biggest unauthorized “wildcat” strikes in decades. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Striking school workers hold signs and chant inside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. A week ago, thousands of public school teachers in West Virginia went out on strike, a rare but familiar union-organized action to protest low wages and rising health-care costs. Tuesday night, state union leaders and the Governor Jim Justice reached a deal, and the teachers were expected to be back at work on Thursday, but they didn’t go. Unsatisfied with the resolution, they stayed on the picket line, mounting one of the country’s biggest unauthorized “wildcat” strikes in decades. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>A striking teacher hold a “United” signs= during a rally outside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

A striking teacher hold a “United” signs= during a rally outside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>Striking school workers hold a “55 United” sign while chanting inside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Striking school workers hold a “55 United” sign while chanting inside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>Teachers and demonstrators hold signs and chant during a rally outside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Teachers and demonstrators hold signs and chant during a rally outside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>Striking teachers stand on a small picket line outside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Striking teachers stand on a small picket line outside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>A demonstrator wears a “55 Strong” hat during a rally outside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

A demonstrator wears a “55 Strong” hat during a rally outside the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Photo: Scott Heins/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

<p>West Virginia teachers, students and supporters hold signs on a Morgantown street as they continue their strike on March 2, 2018 in Morgantown, W.Va. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) </p>
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West Virginia teachers, students and supporters hold signs on a Morgantown street as they continue their strike on March 2, 2018 in Morgantown, W.Va. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

<p>West Virginia teachers, students and supporters hold signs on a Morgantown street as they continue their strike on March 2, 2018 in Morgantown, W.Va. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

West Virginia teachers, students and supporters hold signs on a Morgantown street as they continue their strike on March 2, 2018 in Morgantown, W.Va. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

<p>Parry Casto, a fifth grade teacher at the Explorer Academy in Huntington, W.Va., dressed in an Uncle Sam costume leads hundreds of teachers in chants outside the state Senate chambers at the Capitol in Charleston, W. Va., on March 1, 2018. The strike rolled into its second weekend with the state Senate planning to meet Saturday, March 3 after declining to take a vote on whether the teachers will get the 5 percent pay raise negotiated by Gov. Jim Justice and union leaders. (Photo: John Raby/AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Parry Casto, a fifth grade teacher at the Explorer Academy in Huntington, W.Va., dressed in an Uncle Sam costume leads hundreds of teachers in chants outside the state Senate chambers at the Capitol in Charleston, W. Va., on March 1, 2018. The strike rolled into its second weekend with the state Senate planning to meet Saturday, March 3 after declining to take a vote on whether the teachers will get the 5 percent pay raise negotiated by Gov. Jim Justice and union leaders. (Photo: John Raby/AP)

<p>Annie Hancock, a teacher from Jackson County, holds her sign outside of the capitol building after WVEA President Dale Lee outlined the terms for ending the walkout on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Annie Hancock, a teacher from Jackson County, holds her sign outside of the capitol building after WVEA President Dale Lee outlined the terms for ending the walkout on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Hundreds of teachers and school personnel rally at the Capitol building on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Hundreds of teachers and school personnel rally at the Capitol building on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Governor Jim Justice stands up to leave a press conference at the capitol building on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Governor Jim Justice stands up to leave a press conference at the capitol building on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>From left, teachers Kim Hundley, Jamie Heflin and Susan Brewer demonstrate at the Capitol building on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

From left, teachers Kim Hundley, Jamie Heflin and Susan Brewer demonstrate at the Capitol building on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Jennyerin Steele Staats, a special education teacher from Jackson County holds her sign aloft outside of the capitol building after WVEA President Dale Lee outlined the terms for ending the walkout on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Jennyerin Steele Staats, a special education teacher from Jackson County holds her sign aloft outside of the capitol building after WVEA President Dale Lee outlined the terms for ending the walkout on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Destiny Carpenter holds a sign outside of the Capitol building on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Destiny Carpenter holds a sign outside of the Capitol building on the fourth day of statewide walkouts in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Ivan Weikle makes a face at his father while holding a sign in support of PEIA drawn by Lewisburg Elementary School art teacher Jody Wilber (in hat) along Route 219 in Lewisburg, W.Va., on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 on the third day of the statewide walkout by school personnel. (Photo: Craig Hudson /Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Ivan Weikle makes a face at his father while holding a sign in support of PEIA drawn by Lewisburg Elementary School art teacher Jody Wilber (in hat) along Route 219 in Lewisburg, W.Va., on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018 on the third day of the statewide walkout by school personnel. (Photo: Craig Hudson /Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Sonya Ashby, a library media specialist at Lubeck Elementary in Wood County, shows off her sign at the West Virginia State Capitol on the second day of the teacher walkout in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Sonya Ashby, a library media specialist at Lubeck Elementary in Wood County, shows off her sign at the West Virginia State Capitol on the second day of the teacher walkout in Charleston, W.Va., on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

<p>Hundreds attend a candlelight rally in support of the ongoing statewide teachers walkout outside of the capitol building in Charleston, W.V., on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP) </p>
West Virginia teachers’ strike

Hundreds attend a candlelight rally in support of the ongoing statewide teachers walkout outside of the capitol building in Charleston, W.V., on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. (Photo: Craig Hudson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP)

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