The Pullman Strike occurred at the Pullman Palace Car Company due to the Panic of 1893. The Panic of 1893 caused the car company to reduce the worker’s wages because the demand for luxury cars declined. George Pullman himself, who was a very successful businessman know for his innovation as an engineer (made the sleeping car), refused to negotiate, so the workers, and it eventually led to a boycott to the point that any train that transported Pullman cars were to refuse. The other major strike seen during this time period is the Homestead Strike. This strike took place at the Homestead Steel Plant run by Andrew Carnegie (one of the richest entrepreneurs in the Gilded Age).
The industrial workers responded by striking in the Pullman Strike. Pullman, Illinois was a company town, which meant that the workers had to pay rent to the company. The Panic of 1893 occurred, and there was a low demand for private railroad cars. As a result, the Pullman Company laid off workers and decreased wages but kept the rent at the same price. This led to the American Railway Union leading a strike.
Unlike the Knights of Labor, the AFL only accepted white males who were skilled workers in similar trades into their ranks. Their focus was on economic gains including better wages, hours and working conditions; not over social reform or non-skilled workers plight. By using boycotts, strikes and collective bargaining the organization was able to win shorter working hours and better pay for its skilled workers. Gompers continued with these methods through out his reign, believing that by having a group of unions with only skilled laborers, he could have more influence by excluding the unskilled ones. He saw the higher wages earned by skilled individuals and wanted to capture their wealth and influence in with the AFLs own
The organized labor of 1875-1900 was unsuccessful in proving the position of workers because of the future strikes, and the intrinsical feeling of preponderation of employers over employees and the lack of regime support. In 1877, railroad work across the country took part in a cyclopean strike that resulted in mass violence and very few reforms. An editorial, from the Incipient York Time verbalized: "the strike is ostensibly hopeless, and must be regarded as nothing more than a rash and splenetic demonstration of resentment by men too incognizant or too temerarious to understand their own interest" (Document B). In 1892, workers at the Homestead steel plant near Pittsburg ambulated out on strike and mass chaos the lives of at least two Pinkerton detectives and one civilian, among many other laborers death (Document G).
During the Gilded age billionaires like Carnegie, Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller were earning massive profits off of the backs of cheap, underpaid labor. Working conditions in the late nineteenth century were terrible and the pay was even worse. Workers would work for 12 hour days in harsh dangerous conditions with no job security and no safety standards These employees would earn a bare minimum wage of one dollar a day for six days a week. Outraged workers wanted better conditions and better pay, so they formed unions like the Knights of Labor (KoL) and the American Federation of Labor (AFL). These unions fought for eight hour work days, better conditions, and better pay along with other topics.
In the second quarter of the nineteenth century, a lot of Americans were moving away from their rural country lives, to work in enormous industrial urban areas. Urban communities were developing, manufacturing production was extending, and immigration from European nations was expanding. Because of growing production lines, the connection between factory owners or managers and their workers radically transformed from the apprentice system. Moreover, factories made a working-class and a middle-class causing a separation. Another way the relationship changed was managers and their apprentices could never again go out to a bar together after work because there were too many workers.
The AFL advocated for most of the same things as the Knights of Labor. The American Federation of Labor used strikes and boycotts against owners to try and get what they wanted. Two major strikes that occurred were the Pullman Strike and the Homestead Strike. Both strikes were very dangerous and had millions of dollars of damage. Some of the strikes and boycotts did work and wages were raised, however some backfired and many workers ended up losing their
An in depth analysis of the factors that led to the rise of labor unions in the United States only reveals that the basic need and the primary objective of the workering people was to secure economic and legal protection from their exploiting employers. The origins of the
The life in the 19th-century for labor worker was from far easy. With all the wealth being generateing during the Gilded age very little of its wealth were given to the wokers. Even the best wages for a industrial worker were low, with long hours, working in awfully poor conditions. With safety rules and regulations being unexisted, it was hard to blame employers responsible. It was worse for women and children, who worked as hard or even harder than men, often time only revcieved only but a fraction of what a man earned.
It wasn’t a union, but a federation, whose goals were to bargain with employees’, resolve grievances and organize strikes. Unlike The Knight of Labor, in order to achieve efficiency, it believed in the capitalist system and the importance of employers’ making a profit, but also seeks to win labor’s fair share of the profits through collective bargaining. Equity was achieved by way of making sure that employees received their fair share of the profits though collective bargaining. Therefore, to ensure that workers received their fair share of the profits, the union had no problem using the threat of strikes.
In not just the steel industry, the factory workers of the age were working to the exclusive benefit of the prime benefactor for the company. Painter writes “Thanks to efficient management and the scope of operations, Carnegie’s industrial empire made more than $40,000,000 in profits per year in the early 1890’s.” and that “When the contract between the amalgamated Association and the Homestead mill expired in June 1892, Carnegie was at his castle in Scotland and offered Frick a free hand.” (111-112) This passage suggests both that the industry was supremely profitable, but that a large part of the profits were going towards the industry’s prime benefactor, Andrew Carnegie.
He started this company in Chicago, Illinois, hiring workers in the town to work for him. Following the economic depression in America in 1893, Pullman changed the conditions of these workers. He cut wages, increased working hours, and laid off some workers. On May 11, 1894, several thousands of train workers responded to these conditions, starting an unannounced strike at the Pullman Company in Illinois. During the next couple of months many people died due to the violence that was going on in this strike.
However, the economic crises in 1837 collapsed the labor unions because of economic hard times, and with immigrants coming in surplus willing to work for cheap, regular people could not compete and thus had to work at the beckon of the factories. Labor unions worked when the economy was resilient, but when the economy was shocked, everyone was too afraid of demanding more when there were those willing to work for
The AF of L wanted “unionism” and opposed socialism. TheKnights of Labor, another labor union, was created in 1869 and enlisted in their ranks not only alllaborers but also everyone who could be truly classified as a producer. Labor unions, the two major depressions and the three “robber barons” were three of theforemost reasons the Gilded Age got its name. The “robber barons” invested in things that wouldultimately lead to a “Golden Industrial Age” but they didn’t achieve it totally legitimately, and thecreation of the labor unions sided with the workers, but at times, grew violent in their methods.
On May 11, 1894 a widespread strike lead by railroad workers brought business to a complete cessation; only willing to discontinue until the federal government took unprecedented action to end the strike. The Pullman Strike began “as a peaceful labor protest against a single Chicago employer (54)”, and later ended up “into a national labor boycott of more than twenty railroads and then into a violent confrontation between the federal government, the railroad companies, and American workers (55.)” With the “mix of employer resistance, government aggression, worker bitterness, and general economic desperation (54)”, the Pullman Strike presented questions towards the “rights of employers and workers in an industrialized democracy and about the role