The Pullman Strike - 1894
- In 1894 workers at the Pullman Palace Car Company went on strike.
- During an American Depression, in 1893, Pullan the owner cut wages by 25% and laid off over a third of his workers.
- The reduction in wages did not match the cost of living -> workers could not not afford the essentials to support themselves and their families. They became frustrated and angry at the company.
- A negotiation to reduce rent was rejected by the management of the company, this sparked the strikes.
- The American Railway Union caught wind of the situation and began to strike.
- Workers refused to pull the railway cars, this brought the railway system to a standstill.
- President Cleveland sent in federal troops to break up the strike.
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The significance of the Pullman Strike
- The Pullman strike shows how in the USA, the extent to which employers and authorities were prepared to go in order to deny workers rights.
- The company's decision to refuse workers collective bargaining showed the common attitude during this time. Any attempt to recieve rights was regarded as suspicious, and potentially violent which is why it was commonly resisted by employers.
- It showed the power of employers when the Supreme Court legalised the use of injunctions (prevented workers from doing specific acts, i.e. striking for example. Employers gained a powerful weapon against the labour unions -> Aggressive employer associations and conservative federal, state and local officials set out to prevent a strong workers movement.
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