A Strike for the AgesRough DraftSenior DivisionAJ ChrislerCriticism1/30/18 During the United States economic depression of the 1890’s, on May 11th 1894 began one of the largest organized strikes in recorded history.
The Pullman Strike was made up of several boycotts and sabotages that were performed by the employees of George Mortimer Pullman. George Pullman was the founder, and owner of the Illinois Pullman Company. The Pullman Company maintained railroads all around the U.S and manufactured both regular and luxury railroad cars. The Pullman Strike began with approximately 40% the Pullman Companies workers, which was later estimated to be about 4,000, but as the strike grew larger over time some 250,000 workers in 27 different states began boycotting every railroad with a Pullman Railroad Car on it. The Pullman Strike was caused due to an drastic 60% cut in wages of Pullman employees. While this alone could have been enough to cause The Pullman Strike, George Pullman also increased the cost of rent in Pullman, Chicago.
The town of Pullman was built by the Pullman Company for it’s Illinois workers, but instead of aiding them, it was their downfall. The town was always in a tragic state and the rents were in many cases double what they would have been in an ordinary Chigo single family home. The Pullman Company employees became outraged and joined the American Railroad Union, which organized and began The Pullman Strike. Several days after the start of The Pullman Strike, the U.
S government made many attempts to end The Pullman Strike. These attempts often consisted of violence from both sides, the government and the strikers. Different reports say that the government instigated the violence with gunfire and hostile nature, and other reports say that the strikers instigated the violence by throwing stones and punching troops. Although the historical conclusion is that in most cases the strikers were the ones to retaliate first.
The failed compromise between George Pullman and his labores largely caused the government to intervene because the resulting strike influenced nationwide transportation, put many Pullman workers in danger, but did not did not influence the government’s decision to us violence and force.The largest cause of the government’s intervention was the influence The Pullman Strike had on the transportation of cargo throughout the U.S. While strikes had already been made illegal, the impairment of mail transportation caused the government to become eager to end The Pullman Strike. This negative effect of The Pullman Strike was a direct result of the lack of compromise between Pullman and his workers. Samuel Gompers was one of the founders of the American Federation of Labor. He also was responsible for much of the planning and publicity that went into starting The Pullman Strike, and later for defending many of the people involved in The Pullman Strike.
Samuel Gompers wrote a letter to Judge Peter Grosscup telling him of how evil America’s economy has become and even more so the people that control most of the money. In his letter Samuel refurres to George Pullman when he asks Judge Peter if “whether the conqueror (George Pullman) cares whether his trophy (the employees) is destroyed or preserved.” When Samuel says this, he shows that he has a complete lack of faith in George Pullman. The lack of trust between George Pullman and his employees caused tension to rise between the two, which eventually left only one option for the employees, and that was to rebel. Two months after the start of The Pullman Strike a Writ of Injunction was released by the U.S Circuit Court for the Northern District of Illinois concerning the Pullman Strike. The Writ of Injunction tells how the government had held off using violence and made attempts to stop The Pullman Strike in a slow and orderly matter. Yet they turned to violence because”from compelling or inducing or attempting to compel or induce by threats, intimidation, persuasion force or violence, any of the employees of any of said railroads to refuse or fail to perform any of their duties as employees of any of said railroads in connection with the interstate business or commerce of said railroads or the carriage of the United States mail by such railroads.
” This direct quote from the Writ of Injunction shows how the employee’s failure to perform their duties as members of The Pullman Company has affected the transport of mail. The lack of compromise between George Pullman and his employees lead to the lack of faith between the two. This lack of faith lead to the start of the Pullman Strike, which lead to the impairment of mail transport. Therefor the lack of compromise between George Pullman and his employees lead to the impairment of mail transport, which was the main reason for the government urgent intervention.Not only did the lack of compromise between George Pullman and his workers influence mail transport but it also put his employees in danger. Wages for Pullman employees had been slowly decreasing for over five years prior to The Pullman Strike. Living conditions in the city of Pullman where also tearable. Not only was food, and rent more expensive than anywhere else.
George Pullman made little effort to upkeep the city. The city of Pullman was home the vast majority, if not all Pullman employees that worked in the factories, or managed the railroads all throughout Illinois. Many reports from residents of the city of Pullman say that the streets smelled like manure, and the homes weren’t much better. People could not afford food so many became too fatigued to work, or they died from starvation.
Not only this, disease and illness spread throughout the city with no attempt to stop it from the company’s management.