When did the Pullman strike happen?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The quick answer to your question is that the Pullman strike happened in 1894.  It began on May 11 of that year and ended in July.  The strike ended with the union failing to get the things it had been striking for.

A longer answer will put the Pullman strike in the context of its time.  It is more important, in my view, to understand that the Pullman strike happened during the “Gilded Age,” which was the time when businesses in the United States were growing ever larger and more powerful.  The strike was part of the effort by workers to push back against this trend.  Its failure reflects the attitudes of the time and the fact that the government of the time was very anti-union.

After the Civil War, the American economy gradually came to be dominated by large companies.  These companies were able to treat their workers however they wanted to because there was such a large pool of workers who would be willing to replace any workers who quit their jobs.  The workers tried to create unions to fight back against the employers.  However, the unions were hamstrung by the general conservative attitudes of the time and by the fact that the government typically took the side of the big businesses against workers and unions.  This can be seen, for example, in the fact that the federal government sent troops to Chicago to help break the Pullman strike.

So, we can say that the Pullman strike happened in 1894, but it is more important to understand that it happened at a time when big business dominated the American economy and when public opinion and the laws were fairly anti-union.

malkaam | Student

The Pullman Strike happened on May 11, 1894 and went on till July 20, 1894. It was railroad strike and boycott by American Railway Union (ARU) against the Pullman Company. This was the first time the federal government used an injunction to break the strike 

This strike was connected to the Depression which began in 1893, what happened was Pullman Palace Car Company decreased the wages of their workers but no changes were made to their rents and other charges (for labors staying in Pullman) due to which many families faced starvation, as a result a group of workers requested an audience with the company's President who refused to meet them and fired the entire group, this enraged the workers and resulted in Pullman Strike when workers walked off the job on May 11, 1894.

ssarfraz | Student

The Pullman Strike of 1894 was a milestone in American labor history, as the widespread strike by workers was put down by the federal government.

President Grover Cleveland ordered federal troops to crush the strike and dozens were killed in violent clashes.

The strike was an intensely bitter battle between workers and company management, as well as between two major characters, George Pullman, owner of company making railroad passenger cars, and Eugene V. Debs, leader of the American Railway Union.

Significance of the Pullman Strike

The significance of the Pullman Strike was enormous. The strike affected much of the country, and it had great influence on public opinion on the rights of workers, the role of management, and the role of government in mediating labor unrest.

Reason Behind the Pullman Strike

The most famous and far reaching labor conflict in a period of severe economic depression and social unrest, the Pullman Strike began May 11, 1894, with a walkout by Pullman Palace Car Company factory workers after negotiations over declining wages failed.