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THE PULLMAN STRIKE May 11, 1894
I am George M. Pullman. I will be cutting your low wages by about 25 percent and I will not reduce your rent and other charges at Pullman, where most of you Pullman workers live.
How am I suppose to support my family. I work so hard and make nothing. Im angry!
I work 16 hour days in horrible conditions for little pay. I am going on strike. He can fire me if he wants. I don't care.
On May 11,1894, three thousand Pullman workers went on a "wildcat" strike, that is, without authorization of their union.
I am Eugene V. Debs, I founded the American Railroad Union (ARU) which most of you workers belong to. I want all of you workers to go on strike due to the harsh treatment from Pullman.
By June 29, fifty thousand men had quit their jobs. Crowds of people who supported the strike began stopping trains. Soon there was no movement on the rails west of Chicago. In some places, fights broke out. Tension was rising and conflict was growing.
On July 10, 1894, Debs and three other union leaders were arrested for interferring with U.S. mail. They were released within a few hours, but Debs realized that continuing the strike would be a lost cause because of the federal troops. Most railroad workers resumed their old jobs and received the same wages as before. Some workers were put on a blacklist, which meant that no railroad in the United States was allowed to hire them. On July 17, 1894, Debs was sent back to jail and served a term of six months in jail. The union he had created no longer existed when he got out of jail. The Pullman Strike was important because it was the first time a federal injunction had ever been used to break up a strike. George Pullman was no longer regarded as an enlightened employer who took care of his workers, but as a greedy and intolerant man. He was offended by his workers' ingratitude. Pullman worried that people would try to steal what was his from him. Shortly before he died in 1897, he requested that his grave be lined in concrete to keep looters from robbing him
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