The strike affected not only the conditions of workers and industries but also the economy. The United States labor laws set the rights and responsibilities for employers, unions, and employers. The aftermath of the strike forced the government to study what caused this strike, trying to find answers as to what caused the disruption and what happened during the boycott. The Pullman strike had an effect of the direction of the labor movement in the United States. The strike became one of the most influential events in the history of United States labor law.
Companies were also known for disregarding laws that the government put in place to protect workers’ rights and in some cases the government historically sided with the companies during strikes giving companies a sense of power. Such as a strike that happened in 1877; the strike had failed to be successful when the government has authorized the approval of police force resulting in strikers being killed and workers beginning to arm themselves for protection. Since employers continually turned a deaf ear to union demands, and unions saw a need to push harder to get the desired results.
The government, upon the wishes of the public, viewed the strikers as being foreigners out to destabilize the country. Thus, they used force to crush these revolts. However, the strike marked a starting point for a change in labor relations and American identity. In conclusion, the Pullman Strike of 1894 was instrumental in changing American labor relations. Prior to the strike, the government always tended to side with the owners against the workers.
Strikes were executed more by the industrial workers, but the farmers did have a few. Strikes were common during the Gilded Age because as industrialization increased, working conditions and labor requirements got worse. The industrial workers were having to work ten to twelve hours, five days a week at the least and not even being paid enough to compensate for their work. Barely scraping by with the amount of work the workers do for their company angered them, and prompted strikes. Some well-known strikes are the Pullman Strike and the Homestead Strike.
The strikers misused their power as the growers did. In John Steinbecks novel In Dubious Battle, there was enormous power struggle between the owners and the very weak workers. The owners were much more prestigious and feared, but when the workers were pushed to their limits they did indeed use the power that was available to them in the means of the strike. The pickers could not give into the demands of the owners because this would have defeated their purpose of the strike. On the other hand the Growers Association could not give into the pickers because they believed that this would have cost them to much money and made them out to be viewed as weak.
The contributors of the book describe their lived experiences, their increasing awareness of class and their position within the class system. The essays in the book form a strong narrative about the experiences of class and the significance of learning about class culture, classism and the connection between class, gender
Through interviews with Boston based blue-collar workers, the authors documented how the workers frequently expressed anger, pain and humiliation. These feelings, contended Sennett and Cobb, stemmed from the belief that they were powerless in improving their place in society. The workers spoke of pain and resentment at being treated in their work as mere 'cogs in the machine,' or just 'Rita the janitor.' The insight here, is that despite efforts by made by working class individuals to move on in life, classed experiences can have a detrimental impact on a person's social identity and their sense of place within hierarchies of respectability. One of the most significant observations noted by the authors, was that working class people often assume personal responsibility for their social position.
Fearing the unionization of unskilled workers, employers went on the offensive, demanding that dock labourers renounce combination and that carter's work with non-union men. At first, Larkin was conciliatory. However, finding the employers unyielding, he raised the stakes by demanding a wage increase for all cross-channel dockers. The employers responded by locking-out their workers, some 2,340 men by mid-July. This was ‘Larkinism’, industrial action by previously unorganized workers, characterized by sympathetic strikes or the refusal to handle goods normally dealt with by striking workers, along with public rallies at which the workers’ cause was elevated and that of the employers condemned in impassioned rhetoric.
Working-class parents and children were uneasy during these interactions, whether formal or informal. They distrusted and feared most social institutions as many working-class families had experienced negative ordeals with social institutions such as schools. In Lareau’s study (2002), Harold’s mother who is black and poor, gets her nephew to observe a weigh in and pass on the information, rather than trusting what the doctor says. Working class parents felt inferior to professionals who themselves were middle-class. Parents from working-class families passed on feeling of powerlessness when dealing with professionals to their children (Lareau, 2002).
The 1930s labour rebellions increased the self-confidence of the workers in the colonies and made them believe there can be change if you come together for a common cause. They made the Royal Commission and through its recommendation the British Government realize the need to bring trade union legislation in all the colonies into line with legislation in Britain. Trade Unions were made legal in all colonies making peaceful strikes giving trade unionist immunity from actions for breach of contract as result of strikes. The organized trade unionist in these colonies were developed into modern trade union movements and till this day contribute to the continuing struggle for an improved standard of living (Hart, 2002). A major demand of the 1930s uprising was for wanting self-government, which inspired the political movements in the later decolonization struggles of the 1950s and 1960s (Henke & Réno, 2003).