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 Pullman Palace Car Company- manufactured luxury railroad cars between 1880 and 1979  Founded by George M. Pullman in Chicago, Illinois  Was originally.

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Presentation on theme: " Pullman Palace Car Company- manufactured luxury railroad cars between 1880 and 1979  Founded by George M. Pullman in Chicago, Illinois  Was originally."— Presentation transcript:


2  Pullman Palace Car Company- manufactured luxury railroad cars between 1880 and 1979  Founded by George M. Pullman in Chicago, Illinois  Was originally designed as a sleeping and luxury railcar service in 1867  In 1880 began building cars and providing the services for the trains  Became the largest railroad car manufacturer in the United States  American Railway Union (ARU)- primary goal was to united railway employees of all different positions into one large union  Founded in Chicago June 20, 1893  Led by Eugene V. Debs  Eugene V. Debs- socialist and advocate for American unions and worker rights

3  One of the Pullman manufacturing locations was in Pullman, Illinois  George Pullman founded the town, and it served as a residency for his workers  Was a complete town  Homes for workers were inadequate  Poor structures  No plumbing  Pullman designed the outskirts of the town to appear lavish from the exterior and a “model town of workers” to the public The Outskirts of the Pullman Town

4  Panic of 1893  Pullman offset losses by cutting factory productivity and reducing wages  Did not reduce rents, utility charges, or store prices  Resulted in workers having little profit from labor after living expenses  May 7 th, 1894 Pullman workers formed a committee  Requested rent to be lowered to coincide with deductions in wages  Pullman refused and terminated three of the committee members George Pullman

5  After the termination of committee members, workers declared their intent to strike  On May 10 th, 1894 Pullman workers in Pullman, Illinois walked off the job  On May 11 th, 1894 the Pullman Plant officially closed  Strike was peaceful for several weeks  Pullman management continued to refuse arbitration with workers  Pullman Union strikers became desperate for aid Pullman workers walking out after declaring a strike

6  Under the direction of Eugene Debs the American Railroad Union offered assistance to the Pullman workers  The ARU had 465 local unions at the time  Pullman workers were recognized as an affiliated union  Debs attempted to push Pullman into arbitration on behalf of the Pullman workers  The company refused  On June 26 th, 1894 the ARU called for a national blockade and boycott of Pullman cars  Switchmen refused to switch trains containing any Pullman cars

7  Work stoppage against all railroads utilizing Pullman cars was initiated  Within four days of Debs’ work stoppage order, 125,000 workers employed at twenty- nine separate railroads walked off the job  The Pullman Strike had officially begun  Two sides of the strike  Big railroad companies aligning with Pullman  Laborers of railways, and other skilled and unskilled professions aligning with Pullman workers  Actions were directed toward the General Managers’ Association  Responsible for twenty-four of the rail lines entering Chicago  GMA hired strikebreakers  Many were African American Eugene Debs

8  On June 27 th, 1894 Debs held a peaceful rally at Blue Island, Illinois  Location of railroad workers also boycotting Pullman cars  Following the speech, the crowd lit nearby buildings afire and derailed a railcar  Debs’ leadership of the ARU caused other states to participate in the strike  Sympathy strikes by local unions occurred in twenty-seven other states, and over 250,000 workers participated in the boycott at its peak  Gained the Pullman strike nationwide recognition  First “National Strike”

9  July 2 nd, 1894 President Grover Cleveland, with assistance from U.S. Attorney General Richard Olney, issued a federal injunction against the ARU  Forbid union leaders from supporting the strike  Prevented ARU leaderships, such as Debs, from communicating with the striking workers  Banned the union from interfering with mail and rail movement within the state of Illinois  Cited the Interstate Commerce Act President Grover Cleveland Attorney General Richard Olney

10  Originally intended to curb the existence of trusts and business monopolies  It was used to restrict actions of the ARU during the strike and boycott  Cleveland used it to instead curb the “abuses” of the Pullman strike movement  Enabled the jailing of strikers and the use of federal troops  Sought to primarily break the Pullman Strike and the ARU boycott of Pullman cars

11  July 3 rd, 1894 President Grover Cleveland ordered troops into Chicago  Illinois Governor Peter Altgeld failed to convince Cleveland to use other measures to put down the strikes  Eugene Debs also warned of the possible violence that could ensue  Eight companies of infantry, one troop of cavalry, and an artillery battalion were positioned along the railroad tracks leading into Chicago  Constituted a force of over two thousand men

12  July 4 th the federal troops’ presence kindled violence  Engines were removed from railcars and destroyed  Freight cars overturned  Tower-men removed and dragged from posts  Soldiers struck with stones, rail spikes, and bricks  Those engaged in the mayhem were primarily citizens of Chicago and sympathizers of the strikers  To address the situation, two thousand special deputies were hired by federal marshals and brought in

13  The next day, July 5 th, a mob of nearly 10,000 citizens marched from the packinghouse district of Chicago to the rail yards  Destroyed property  Set railcars afire  Pushed freight cars off tracks  Vandalized buildings of the World Fair site  On July 6 th an Illinois Central manager shot two rioters, which sparked revenge by citizens  Seven hundred freight cars were torched  Railroad buildings and bridges were burned  Telegraph lines destroyed  In total thirteen people were killed, and fifty-three injured in Chicago

14  National labor leaders convened to discuss the possibility of a general strike in support of the workers  Samuel Gompers, leader of the AFL, believed the cause was lost due to the issuing of:  Federal injunctions  Federal troops  AFL labeled George Pullman as “a public enemy”  Commended the ARU boycott and rail workers  Concluded that a general strike would be unwise Samuel Gompers

15  Following the strike, Debs and other aids were arrested for:  Interfering with U.S. mail  Obstructing interstate commerce  Contempt of court  Debs and his counterparts refused to accept or offer bail, and instead remained behind bars in protest of their arrests  Debs served six months in prison after being convicted for violating the court injunction  With Debs and other leaders removed the strike dwindled  By August 2 nd all Pullman cars were fully active and the strike ceased Eugene Debs’ mug shot after being arrested for contempt of court

16  Negatives  Willingness of federal government to intervene in large strikes to support capitalists against labor  Criticism by the media  Utilization of federal troops as strikebreakers  Manipulation of federal laws to crush labor movements  Positives  Signified the capability and power of unified labor movements  National recognition  Citizen support  Labor Day

17 Dray, Phillip, “Pullman’s Town,” in There is Power in a Union. New York: Anchor Books, 2011. Ladd, Keith and Greg Rickman. “ The Pullman Strike, Chicago, 1894” Kansas Heritage Group. Last modified March 3, 1998. “The Pullman Strike.” Illinois Periodicals Online. Last modified December 1994.


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