Pullman Strike and George Mortimer Pullman Essay

Submitted By alexramoooos
Words: 972
Pages: 4

The Pullman Strike

Workers from the Pullman Palace Car Company went on a strike because of the way, George Mortimer Pullman, the founder and president of the company, is treating them.
The company was organized back in 1867, and it manufactures sleeping cars and operates them under contract to the railroads.

Workers from the Pullman Palace Car Company went on a strike because of the way, George Mortimer Pullman, the founder and president of the company, is treating them.
The company was organized back in 1867, and it manufactures sleeping cars and operates them under contract to the railroads.

As we all know, the year 1893, last year, the company suffered a depression. The factory’s wages decreased about twenty-five percent. However, the rents George Pullman charged did not decrease. In addition, if one of the Pullman worker went into debt, it was simply deducted from his paycheck.

On May 11,1894, three thousand Pullman workers decided to go on a "wildcat" strike, without authorization of their union. A big number of the strikers belonged to the American Railroad Union (ARU). As most of you already know, it was founded by Eugene V. Debs. Debs is a man from Indiana who moved to Chicago to start working as a railroad fireman. After a while, he became aware of the working conditions of his fellow workers. He opened his eyes and payed more attention to the low wages. The poor working conditions; some workers even got injured or killed because of the unstable equipment. He then was proposed to make things better.

On June 26, 1894, a few ARU members only allowed trains with mail cars but not with Pullman car. Debs feared that the federal troops would get involved, and he knew that if the U.S. mail was bothered with, the troops would be there immediately.
The railroads had previously formed an organization called the General Managers Association. They proclaimed that no one could tell them whom to hire, fire, or how they should pay their workers. The twenty-four railroads that were part of the General Managers Association immediately found a way to end the strike. In order to make that happen, they announced that any worker who refused to move rail cars would get fired. After that announcement, Debs's union stated that if a worker was fired because he refused to move Pullman cars all the union members would quit their job. By June 29, about fifty thousand men had quit their jobs. Crowds of people who supported the strike began to stop trains. Soon there was no movement on the rails west of Chicago. Fights even broke out in some places.
There was only one choice to in order to break the strike, and it was help from the federal troops. However, getting help from them was not an easy task. The only way the railroads could get their help was if the president agreed. President Grover Cleveland stated that he would help only if the governor requested them. John P. Altgeld, the governor of Illinois, did want to request troops. He believed that workers should have the same rights as their bosses. All of which made it hard for the General Managers Association. In that time, railroad managers started to write stories that made Debs union appear like a violent gang and made him look bad. They predicted that the strike was going to end in violence just the way, all the other strikes did. The railroads then started to send people to work on railroads as something they would call “strike breakers” or “scabs”. General Richard Olney was an attorney who supported the General Managers Association. He strongly believed that the railroads had the right to do things they wanted to do, and if the workers disagreed, they could quit. On June 29, 1894, Debs has gone out…