Special Report

31 of the Largest Worker Strikes in American History

31. Detroit Newspapers Strike
> Duration: July 13, 1995 to Feb. 19, 1997
> No. of strikers: 2,500
> Cumulative days off the job: 1,012,500

Unions representing journalists, printers, truck drivers, maintenance workers, and other laborers went on strike over management’s attempt to create a merit-based raise system and limit overtime. The newspapers hired replacement workers, and the union called off the strike.

Source: Robert Giroux / Getty Images

30. Boeing Machinists Strike of 2008
> Duration: Sept. 6, 2008 to Nov. 1, 2008
> No. of strikers: 27,000
> Cumulative days off the job: 1,053,000

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers ended an eight-week strike in November 2008 with an agreement that the union said protected factory jobs, prevented some outsourcing of posts at Boeing, and retained health care benefits. Boeing management said the accord gave the company more labor flexibility.

Source: photllurg / Getty Images

29. Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Corp. Strike
> Duration: Oct. 1, 1996 to Aug. 12, 1997
> No. of strikers: 4,800
> Cumulative days off the job: 1,142,400

A 10-month strike involving steel workers at eight plants in three states ended in August 1997. The union said the agreement boosted pension benefits for the company’s steel workers and provided for early retirements. The accord allowed Wheeling to reduce workforce by 20%. The company closed in 2012.

Source: shotbydave / Getty Images

28. Trucking Strike of 1994
> Duration: April 6, 1994 to April 29, 1994
> No. of strikers: 71,000
> Cumulative days off the job: 1,180,500

The 23-day strike, the nation’s longest trucker strike, ended on April 29, 1994. The agreement limited companies’ ability to hire part-time workers, paving the way for more items to be shipped by rail instead of by truck.

Source: David Paul Morris / Getty Images

27. Northwest Airlines Strike
> Duration: Aug. 20, 2005 to Nov. 6, 2006
> No. of strikers: 3,000
> Cumulative days off the job: 1,183,800

The mechanics’ strike against Northwest Airlines proved to be a disaster for the striking workers and their union. Northwest replaced all of the strikers, and some of the strikers and laid-off workers crossed the picket line. The strike also failed because none of the other unions supported the picket lines.

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