"Strikers Shot by Troops"
“Strikers Shot by Troops”
(Pullman Company Strike,
New York Times, July 8, 1894,
Vol XLIII, no 13,337
Serials and Government Publications Division
[Digital ID# at0134_6]
In the 1880s George Pullman built the town of Pullman near Chicago
to manufacture his famous railway sleeping cars. All buildings,
homes, and stores in the town were owned and rented to the workers.
By 1894, the Pullman Company had declining sales and lay off hundreds
of workers, and reduced the salaries of others. On May 7, the workers
asked for lower rent and were flatly refused. The American Railway
Union was formed and led by Eugene V. Debs. By June 26, railroad
workers around the country began to strike. On July 3, President
Grover Cleveland, declares striking a federal crime and orders
federal troops to forcibly disperse the striking works. On July
7, troops, standing face to face with strikers, open fire killing
thirty-four workers. By August 3, the strike was declared over
by police, and Debs and others were imprisoned. Six days later,
the U.S. Congress makes Labor Day a National Holiday.