A strike among freight railroad workers has been averted after marathon talks resulted in a tentative deal. The union representing some 50,000 engineers and conductors had threatened to go on strike Sept. 16, bringing U.S. logistics to a halt. But a verbal agreement between the union and management was reached at 2:30 a.m. Thursday, concluding about 20 hours of talks, according to CNN. The union drove negotiations near the deadline seeking higher wages, annual bonuses, and changes to work rules and schedules for its members.
The country’s labor history stretches back to 1768 when New York tailors protested a cut in wages; the first union formed in 1794 among shoemakers in Philadelphia. As times changed, work stoppages in larger industries grew, sometimes pitting strikers against law enforcement and even the military. The efforts weren’t always successful, but they frequently made gains that translated to other industries and influenced laws. Here are some of the biggest strikes in America over the past 140 years, ranked by the estimated number of striking workers.