Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Neighborhoods
  3. Places & Faces

The Pullmn strike of 1894

See also

During the Panic of 1893 and the resulting depression, George M. Pullman’s efforts to avoid financial ruin caused violent, deadly strikes. He and his contemporaries faced serious declines in business as many railroads went bankrupt. Pullman wanted to keep his Pullman Palace Car Company intact without laying off any workers.

Pullman’s plan was more beneficial to Pullman than his workers. This plan reduced wages and increased working hours. It didn’t include reducing rents on the properties he leased to his workers. Neither did it include lowering prices in the company’s stores. Rents for leased properties were automatically deducted from a worker’s paycheck. The reduced wages meant that many workers were left with only a few cents to feed their families after working longer hours. In effect, they didn’t have a living wage.

Since independent newspapers, public speeches, town meetings, charitable organizations and open discussion were banned in Pullman, workers had no recourse to address their grievances or find help. The desperate workers sought help from Eugene Victor Debs and the American Railroad Union (ARU) in 1894. They voted to strike on May 11. Company management refused to negotiate with anyone, and the union called for a boycott of Pullman cars on June 11. Other unions held sympathy strikes for the purpose of paralyzing the railroad industry, and the strikes turned violent. Deaths, property damage and looting in Pullman and Chicago were reported.

President Grover Cleveland, over the objections of Illinois Governor John Altgeld, ordered federal troops to Pullman on July 3 to stop the violence and end the strike. Four days later, Debs and other union leaders were jailed. The factory reopened in August, and the union leaders were fired, but public opinion turned against Pullman.

Enlighten your life with history.

Use this link to become an Examiner, .



  • Randy Travis
    Randy Travis returns with 'Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am' in August
    Today's Buzz
  • Alternative medicine
    Alternative medicine: Remedies to make the bugs in your body go away for good
    7 Photos
  • Beach body
    Fitness: Earn your beach body badge with bootcamp classes
    10 Photos
  • Back to school
    These 10 items are sure winners on your back-to-school shopping trip
    12 Photos
  • Izabel Goulart
    Izabel Goulart walks the runway with Studio F at Colombia Moda
    19 Photos
  • Ombre' technique
    Go for the gusto: What ombre' technique are you?
    5 Photos

Related Videos:

  • Mississippi River images
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517367515" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Little Jimmy Dickens
    <div class="video-info" data-id="517891934" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • San Diego Comic-Con 2014 DeviantArt schedule and mega meet up
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//;VQ=HD720&amp;allowfullscreen=true&amp;autoplay=1"></iframe>