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Collection: Protests, Strikes & Rallies

Sheldon Dick, photographer. Sitdown strikers in the Fisher body plant factory number three. Flint, Michigan. 1937. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
View: Dec. 30, 1936: First Sit-Down Strike Begins in Flint

The Flint sit-down strike, which started on Dec. 30, 1936, represented a shift in union organizing strategies from craft unionism (organizing white male skilled workers) to industrial unionism (organizing all the workers in an industry). The sit-down strike changed the balance of power between employers and workers.

View: The Flint, Michigan, Sit-Down Strike (1936-37)

Once called “the strike heard round the world,” the first major labor dispute in the U.S. auto industry ended after General Motors signed a contract with the United Auto Workers Union on February 11, 1937.

Surveillance photos taken from the Exchange Building show the National Guard gathered at the center of Concord Street at the height of the 1948 meatpackers strike.
View: 1948 Meatpackers Strike

Many were home from war and wanted more than ever to live a long full life. Others had worked long days and nights during the war to feed the troops overseas as well as Americans on the home front. Some had migrated to the cities from farms and small towns looking for work.

President Reagan with William French Smith making a statement to the press regarding the air traffic controllers strike (PATCO) from the Rose Garden on August 3, 1981.
View: PATCO: The Strike That Changed American Labor

The Takeaway traces it all back to August 1981, when nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers went on strike creating a standoff with Ronald Reagan that ended when he fired the majority of them and de-certified their union, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization.

Air traffic controllers picket near a fence at DFW Airport's FAA tower during the PATCO strike. Aug. 5, 1981. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram Collection)
View: The 1981 PATCO Strike

In August 1981, over 12,000 members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) walked off the job after contract negotiations with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) broke down.

Three miners with federal soldier prepare to surrender weapons.
View: Matewan and the Battle of Blair Mountain–WVA coal miners, 1920

What Made the Battle of Blair Mountain the Largest Labor Uprising in American History. Its legacy lives on today in the struggles faced by modern miners seeking workers’ rights

Group of striking women-shirtwaist workers in New York City, circa 1909.
View: Uprising of 20,000 (1909)

On November 23, 1909, more than 20,000 Yiddish-speaking immigrants, mostly young women in their teens and early twenties, launched an eleven-week general strike in New York’s shirtwaist industry. Dubbed the Uprising of the 20,000, it was the largest strike by women to date in American history.

View: The Day the Mail Stopped

The wildcat Postal strike that began on March 18, 1970 signaled the end of collective begging and the beginning of collective bargaining that raised hundreds of thousands of postal workers, craft and management, from poverty level wages to middle class wage earners.

View: March 18, 1970: Postal Workers Strike

The first mass work stoppage in the 195-year history of the Postal Service began on March 18, 1970, with a walkout of letter carriers in Brooklyn and Manhattan who were demanding better wages.

View: The Strike That Couldn’t Happen, The Great Postal Strike of March 1970

APWU remembers the Great Postal Strike of March 1970. For more background on the successful wildcat strike that earned postal workers the right to bargain collectively for better pay and benefits.