Pullman strike


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Pullman strike,

in U.S. history, an important labor dispute. On May 11, 1894, workers of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago struck to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. They sought support from their union, the American Railway Union (ARU), led by Eugene V. DebsDebs, Eugene Victor,
1855–1926, American Socialist leader, b. Terre Haute, Ind. Leaving high school to work in the railroad shops in Terre Haute, he became a railroad fireman (1871) and organized (1875) a local of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen.
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, and on June 26 the ARU called a boycott of all Pullman railway cars. Within days, 50,000 rail workers complied and railroad traffic out of Chicago came to a halt. When the railroad owners asked the federal government to intervene, Attorney General Richard Olney, a director of the Burlington and Santa Fe railroads, obtained (July 2) a court injunction. On July 4, President Cleveland dispatched troops to Chicago. Much rioting and bloodshed ensued, but the government's actions broke the strike and the boycott soon collapsed. Debs and three other union officials were jailed for disobeying the injunction.

Bibliography

See A. Lindsey, The Pullman Strike (1942, repr. 1964); W. Cawardine, The Pullman Strike (1973).

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