Subversive Historian – 05/11/09

115th Anniversary of the Pullman Strike

Back in the day on May 11th, 1894, three-thousand workers staged a wildcat strike in Pullman, Illinois. As an economic recession gripped the nation starting a year prior, the notorious George M. Pullman targeted cutbacks against hourly workers employed in his Pullman Palace Car Company. The conditions for many of the non-management employees were already untenable prior to the wage cuts and layoffs and with Pullman city once described as a “relic of European serfdom,” workers had few options at their disposal. Nevertheless, the Pullman Strike commenced and in June 1894, the American Railway Union voted to refuse work on any train that carried a Pullman car and by doing so, effectively took the stoppage national. The Pullman strike would end later that summer, however, when Attorney General Richard Olney obtained an injunction at the behest of President Cleveland to deploy the US Army to break the boycott.

And here I was, thinking capitalism really detested state intervention!


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