Special Report

31 of the Largest Worker Strikes in American History

Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

21. Charter Communications Inc. Strike
> Duration: March 28, 2017 to ongoing
> No. of strikers: 1,800
> Cumulative days off the job: 1,578,600

Charter Communications workers started striking in March 2017 to fight changes to their retirement and health care benefits made after Charter acquired Time Warner and rebranded as Spectrum in 2016. The strike was the longest ongoing strike in the United States.

Source: General Photographic Agency / Getty Images

20. 1934 West Coast Waterfront Strike
> Duration: May 9, 1934 to July 17, 1934
> No. of strikers: 35,000
> Cumulative days off the job: 1,750,000

Starting with 12,000 dock workers in the spring of 1934, the West Coast Waterfront Strike included at its peak 35,000 laborers across various marine industries and lasted for 83 days. Though not included in the tally for this particular strike, Teamsters and other unions showing solidarity with the longshoremen brought the total workers on strike during this time to 130,000. The strikers achieved their goals through arbitration in October 1934 after ending the strike in July.

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19. United Parcel Service Strike of 1997
> Duration: Aug. 4, 1997 to Aug. 21, 1997
> No. of strikers: 180,000
> Cumulative days off the job: 2,032,500

UPS workers represented by the Teamsters went on strike against the delivery services company over pay and benefits. The Teamsters agreed to a five-year contract after originally asking for a shorter-term deal. UPS agreed to create 10,000 full-time jobs from part-time posts, an increase from its original offer of only 1,000. The workers’ $8 an hour base pay was boosted by 50 cents an hour, and the average driver’s pay was lifted by $3.10 an hour over the life of the contract. UPS wanted to change the pension plan, but that plan remained in place, a victory for the union.

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18. Bituminous Coal Operators Association Strike
> Duration: May 10, 1993 to Dec. 14, 1993
> No. of strikers: 16,800
> Cumulative days off the job: 2,203,000

The United Mine Workers of America agreed in December 1993 to end a strike that affected miners in five states by extending the contract that had lapsed the previous February. The dispute was over companies with union workers creating nonunion subsidiaries and transferring work to them. That issue was deferred.

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17. 1913 Paterson Silk Strike
> Duration: Feb. 25, 1913 to July 28, 1913
> No. of strikers: 23,000
> Cumulative days off the job: 2,530,000

Workers at silk mills in the New Jersey city that was one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution went on strike over an increase in loom assignments to four from two that would have reduced the workforce. As the strike dragged on, sometimes turning violent, some strikers returned to work, while others who continued to strike were replaced. The strike succeeded in forcing the companies to delay the proposed workplace change.

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