The Pullman strike was the pioneer strike revolution in the United States pitting workers against their superiors. It started in May 1984 and by the time it ended it had resulted in deaths and destruction of property. The strike involved railway workers living in the little town of Pullman, Illinois. The workers, who felt betrayed by the new changes in the company (Pullman Palace Car Company), felt an urgent need to express their view in some other ways, after one of the ways had been thwarted. For some time, there were disgruntled feelings over the pay deductions that had been introduced by the Pullman Palace Car Company. The pathetic state of the company houses only made the situation worse as the houses were found to be highly priced compared to other houses found in the same locality. The railway workers in Pullman town set up a committee and sent three of the committee members to present their grievances to the management. The three members sent were eliminated. That marked the beginning of the nationwide strike that brought the nation’s railway system to its knees.
The response of the government to the striking workers became a historical controversy. At the time, President Grover Cleveland was the Head of the State. He permitted the nation’s troops to quell the strike. The aftermath was devastating as twelve civilians were shot dead and many others maimed. These incidences sparked a nationwide outcry and response from the government that has never been witnessed in the history of the United States before. Indeed, the response of the government to the strike was nothing to behold. Looking back, it is hard to imagine that such an incident would happen again. Today, it would be hard to witness such a strike, especially after companies and institutions have realized the importance of their workforces and the need to keep them satisfied.
After the Pullman Strike, many workers’ unions were formed. These advocated for bureaucratic rules to their members including means and ways of handling grievances and conflicts in the work place. The Wagner Act, which was passed in 1935, legalized unionized striking effectively, rendering useless the Omnibus Indictment. These changes in the labor relations, together with many others made since then, would not prohibit another strike similar to the Pullman Strike.
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