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Encyclopedia > Pullman Strike
Pullman Strike began on May 11, 1894.

The Pullman Strike occurred when 4,000 Pullman Palace Car Company workers reacted to a 28% wage cut by going on a wildcat strike in Illinois on May 11, 1894, bringing traffic west of Chicago to a halt.[1] sketch of the 1894 Pullman Strike This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or more. ... sketch of the 1894 Pullman Strike This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or more. ... The streamlined Pullman observation-lounge car Coconino, coupled to a heavyweight sleeper painted in two-tone Pullman grey, brings up the rear of the Santa Fe Railways Chief at La Junta, Colorado on February 27, 1938. ... Strike action, often simply called a strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal by employees to perform work. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Metropolitan Area Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (140,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... is the 131st day of the year (132nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...

Contents

Paternalism in Company Town

The owner of the company, George Pullman was a "welfare capitalist." Firmly believing that labor unrest was caused by the unavailability of decent pay and living conditions, he paid unprecedented wages and built a company town by Lake Calumet (Pullman, Illinois) in what is now the southern part of the city. Instead of living in utilitarian tenements as did many other industrial workers of the day, Pullman workers lived in attractive company-owned houses, complete with indoor plumbing, gas, and sewer systems (all considered luxuries at this time by the general public), in a beautifully landscaped little town with free education through eighth grade and a free public library stocked with an initial gift of 5,000 volumes from Pullman's own personal library. George Mortimer Pullman (March 3, 1831 – October 19, 1897) was an American inventor and industrialist. ... Welfare capitalism was the response of the West to remedy what many perceive as shortcomings of capitalism. ... A company town is a town or city in which most or all real estate, buildings (both residential and commercial), utilities, hospitals, small businesses such as grocery stores and gas stations, and other necessities or luxuries of life within its borders are owned by a single company. ... Lake Calumet is the largest body of water within the city of Chicago, Illinois. ... Pullman is a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, twelve miles from the Chicago Loop by Lake Calumet. ...


While the company town did make a high-quality life possible, the system of interrelated corporations that owned and operated it all did presuppose that workers would live within their means and practice basic budgetary prudence. Some workers did find themselves locked into a kind of "debt slavery" (one form of truck system), owing more than they earned to the company stores and to the independent sister company that owned and operated the town of Pullman. Money owed was automatically deducted from workers' paychecks, and a worker who had overspent himself might never see his earnings at all. Debt bondage or bonded labor is a means of paying off a familys loans via the labour of family members or heirs. ... A truck system is an exploitative form of employment — or, more specifically, unfree labour — under which workers are: paid in a form of limited direct credit or tokens, which may only be used at a company store, owned by their employers, or; paid in unexchangeable goods and/or services. ...


It is likely that paternalism, as practiced in the town, also contributed to the workers’ unrest and subsequent strike. Pullman ruled the town like a feudal baron. He prohibited independent newspapers, public speeches, town meetings or open discussion. His inspectors regularly entered homes to inspect for cleanliness and could terminate leases on ten days notice. The church stood empty since no approved denomination would pay rent and no other congregation was allowed. Private charitable organizations were prohibited. [2] One of the workers declared, Image of traditional cultural paternalism: Father Junipero Serra in a modern portrayal at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California Paternalism refers usually to an attitude or a policy stemming from the hierarchic pattern of a family based on patriarchy, that is, there is a figurehead (the father, pater in Latin) that...

We are born in a Pullman house, fed from the Pullman shop, taught in the Pullman school, catechized in the Pullman church, and when we die we shall be buried in the Pullman cemetery and go to the Pullman Hell.[3]

The Strike

During the economic panic of 1893, the Pullman Palace Car Company cut wages as demands for their train cars plummeted and the company's revenue dropped. A delegation of workers complained that the corporation that operated the town of Pullman didn't decrease rents, but Pullman "loftily declined to talk with them."[3] The Panic of 1893 was a serious decline in the economy of the United States that began in 1893 and was precipitated in part by a run on the gold supply. ...


Many of the workers were already members of the American Railway Union (ARU), led by Eugene V. Debs, which supported their strike by launching a boycott of all Pullman cars. The strike effectively shut down production in the Pullman factories and led to a lockout. Railroad workers across the nation refused to switch Pullman cars (and subsequently Wagner Palace cars) onto trains. The ARU declared that if switchmen were disciplined for the boycott, the entire ARU would strike in sympathy.[3] On June 20, 1893, railway workers gathered in Chicago, Illinois, and founded the American Railway Union (ARU), the largest union of its time, and the first industrial union in the United States. ... Eugene Victor Debs (November 5, 1855 – October 20, 1926) was an American labor and political leader, one of the founders of the International Labor Union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and five-time Socialist Party of America candidate for President of the United States. ... A lockout is a work stoppage in which an employer prevents employees from working. ...


The boycott was launched on June 26, 1894. Within four days, 125,000 workers on twenty-nine railroads had quit work rather than handle Pullman cars.[3] Adding fuel to the fire the railroad companies began hiring replacement workers otherwise known as scabs, which only increased hostilities. Many African Americans, fearful that the rascism expressed by the American Railway Union would lock them out of another labor market crossed the picket line to break the strike, adding a racially charged tone to the conflict.[4] On June 20, 1893, railway workers gathered in Chicago, Illinois, and founded the American Railway Union (ARU), the largest union of its time, and the first industrial union in the United States. ...


On June 29, 1894, Eugene Debs hosted a peaceful gathering to obtain support for the strike from fellow railroad workers at Blue Island, Illinois. Afterward groups within the crowd became enraged and set fire to nearby buildings and derailed a locomotive. Elsewhere in the United States, sympathy strikers prevented transportation of goods by walking off the job, obstructing railroad tracks or threatening and attacking strikebreakers. This increased national attention to the matter and fueled the demand for federal action.[5] Look up strikebreaker in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


The railroads were able to get Edwin Walker, general counsel for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, appointed as a special federal attorney with responsibility for dealing with the strike. Walker obtained an injunction barring union leaders from supporting the strike and demanding that the strikers cease their activities or face being fired. Debs and other leaders of the ARU ignored the injunction, and federal troops were called into action.[6]


The strike was broken up by United States Marshals and some 12,000 United States Army troops, commanded by Nelson Miles, sent in by President Grover Cleveland on the premise that the strike interfered with the delivery of U.S. Mail, ignored a federal injunction and represented a threat to public safety. The arrival of the military led to further outbreaks of violence. During the course of the strike, 13 strikers were killed and 57 were wounded. An estimated 6,000 rail workers did $340,000 worth of property damage (about $6,800,000 adjusted for inflation to 2007). The United States Marshals Service, part of the United States Department of Justice, is the United States oldest federal law enforcement agency. ... The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. ... Nelson Appleton Miles ( August 8, 1839 – May 15, 1925) was an American soldier who served in the American Civil War, Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War. ... Stephen Grover Cleveland (March 18, 1837 – June 24, 1908), the twenty-second and twenty-fourth President of the United States, was the only President to serve non-consecutive terms (1885–1889 and 1893–1897). ... USPS and Usps redirect here. ...


Trial

Clarence Darrow agreed to represent Debs and, after a "brilliant" defense, may have been "robbed of a victory" due to the U.S. attorney dropping the prosecution of a charge of conspiracy to obstruct the mail after a juror's illness. Debs was then tried for, and eventually found guilty of violating the court injunction, and was sent to prison for six months.[7] Clarence Seward Darrow (April 18, 1857 Kinsman Township, Trumbull County, Ohio - March 13, 1938 Chicago) was an American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, best known for defending teenaged thrill killers Leopold and Loeb in their trial for murdering 14-year-old Bobby Franks (1924) and...


At the time of his arrest, Debs was not a Socialist. However, during his time in prison, he read the works of Karl Marx. After his release in 1895, he became the leading Socialist figure in America. He ran for President for the first of five times in 1900. Socialism is a social and economic system (or the political philosophy advocating such a system) in which the economic means of production are owned and controlled collectively by the people. ... Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... Ğ: For the film, see: 1900 (film). ...


A national commission formed to study causes of the 1894 strike found Pullman's paternalism partly to blame and Pullman's company town to be "un-American." In 1898, the Illinois Supreme Court forced the Pullman Company to divest ownership in the town, which was annexed to Chicago. A company town is a town or city in which most or all real estate, buildings (both residential and commercial), utilities, hospitals, small businesses such as grocery stores and gas stations, and other necessities or luxuries of life within its borders are owned by a single company. ...


Pullman thereafter remained unpopular with labour, and when he died in 1897, he was buried in Graceland Cemetery at night in a lead-lined coffin within an elaborately reinforced steel-and-concrete vault. Several tons of cement were poured to prevent his body from being exhumed and desecrated by labor activists. Graceland Cemetery is a large Victorian-era cemetery located in the north side community area of Uptown, in the city of Chicago, Illinois, USA. Established in 1860, its main entrance is at Clark and Irving Park. ...


See also

Organized Labour Portal

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... // Era Overview At the end of the Civil War, the United States was still bitterly divided. ... John Peter Altgeld (December 30, 1847 - March 12, 1902) was the governor of the U.S. state of Illinois from 1893 until 1897. ... The Sherman Antitrust Act was the first government action to limit trusts (A combination of firms or corporations who agree not to lower prices below a certain rate for the purpose of reducing competition and controlling prices throughout a business or an industry). ... The Norris-LaGuardia Act (also known as the Anti-Injunction Bill) of 1932 was a United States federal law that outlawed yellow-dog contracts, or those in which a worker agreed as a condition of employment that he would not join a labor union; the common title followed from the... Blacklisted redirects here. ... “Detroit” redirects here. ... In the United States, the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, Act of Oct. ...

Notes

  1. ^ "Within three days 40,000 railroaders had walked out in a sympathy strike, bringing traffic west of Chicago to a halt." (Marxian Socialism in the United States, Daniel Bell, page 49)
  2. ^ Sennett, Richard (1980). Authority. Vintage Books.  ISBN 0-394-74655-4
  3. ^ a b c d Anthony Lukas, Big Trouble, 1997, page 310.
  4. ^ David E. Bernstein, Only One Place of Redress, 2001, page 54
  5. ^ ILLINOIS HISTORY A MAGAZINE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, Volume 48, Number 1, December 1994, Chapter 8
  6. ^ Anthony Lukas, Big Trouble, 1997, page 310-311.
  7. ^ Anthony Lukas, Big Trouble, 1997, page 311.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
The Great Pullman Strike (Labor) by Dick Meister (1212 words)
It was the great Pullman strike of 1894, a virtual insurrection of working people against the corporate forces who dictated their conditions of employment, subjecting them without recourse to lives of poverty or near-poverty.
The strike nevertheless was one of the most important of the events that ultimately led to widespread unionization and the granting of fundamental rights and protections to all U.S. workers, unionized or not.
Yet the Pullman strike was not in the end a failure, The strikers' extraordinary efforts kept alive the idea of mass unionization, inspiring and providing important lessons for those who finally brought the idea to realization in the 1930s.
Pullman Strike - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (608 words)
Pullman housed his workers in a company town by Lake Calumet (Pullman, Chicago) in what is today known as Chicago's far South Side.
The Pullman Company controlled every aspect of their lives, and practiced "debt slavery" (one form of truck system), which kept workers under de facto contract by maintenance of large debts to the company store and to their "landlord," the Pullman Company itself.
With a historic use of an injunction, the strike was eventually broken up by United States Marshals and some 2,000 United States Army troops, commanded by Nelson Miles, sent in by President Grover Cleveland on the basis that the strike interfered with the delivery of U.S. Mail.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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