Pullman Strike

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  • Pullman City was created to house the employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company, which manufactured sleeping cars and operated them under the contract to the railroad. The workers were expected to receive​ pay cuts. When a depression arose their wages decreased 25% and the men began falling into debt.
  • May 11th, 1894: 3,000 Pullman workers went on a "wildcat" strike, which meant doing so without authorization from their Union, the American Railroad Union (ARU).
  • When the founder of the union, Eugene V. Debs, found out about the low wages and bad conditions, he pursued better conditions for the men. June 26th 1894: ARU members refused to let any pull man car to move.
  • The railroads formed the General Managers Assocation. The assocaition claimed no one could tell them who to hire, fire, or the pay of the workers. They tried to end the strike, and claimed they would fire any of the workers who refused to move the rail cars.
  • ARU annouced that if any worker was fired for refusal to move a car, all union members would quit. June 29th: 50,000 men quit their jobs. Angry crowds who supported the strike began stopping trains. Violence broke out, and soon movement west on the rails west of Chicago ceased.
  • Ater more violence and controversy, workers began going back to their old jobs. Debs went to prision, and his union fell apart. The strike was important because it was the first time a federal order had ever been used to break up a strike, also, George Pullman was seen as a bad man.
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