Pullman Strike

What does that mean?

126 years ago yesterday, 11May, workers of the Pullman Company went out on strike…….

It was a general strike against the railroads and was squashed by Pres. Cleveland and the use of federal troops…..

The Pullman Company built and leased passenger train cars, thousands of which were in operation around the United States by 1893. George Pullman also built a planned community or company town for his workers in Illinois, where workers enjoyed many amenities but were also financially dependent on the Pullman Company for their homes and utilities.

After a severe depression in 1893, wages fell about 25 percent for the Pullman workers while living costs remained the same. The workers then sought out union representation. Former railroad worker Eugene V. Debs and his American Railway Union, which had won a strike earlier in 1894, became involved in the Pullman situation. The May 11 “wildcat” strike wasn’t directly organized by the ARU, but Debs and the union quickly became involved in the strike as it escalated.

https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/on-this-day-the-pullman-strike-changes-labor-law

The Pullman Strike of 1894 was a milestone in American labor history, as the widespread strike by railroad workers brought business to a standstill across large parts of the nation until the federal government took unprecedented action to end the strike. President Grover Cleveland ordered federal troops to crush the strike, and dozens were killed in violent clashes in the streets of Chicago, where the strike was centered.

Key Takeaways: The Pullman Strike

  • Strike affected rail transportation nationwide, essentially bringing American business to a halt.
  • Workers resented not only cut in wages, but management’s intrusiveness into their personal lives.
  • The federal government became involved, with federal troops being sent to open railroads.
  • Massive strike changed how Americans viewed relationship of workers, management, and the federal government.

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-pullman-strike-of-1894-1773900

This strike helped launch the political career of Eugene Debs…..an eventual presidential candidate that opposed Wilson in 1912….

I know….who?

Outspoken leader of the labor movement, Eugene Debs opposed Woodrow Wilson as the Socialist Party candidate in the 1912 Presidential Election. Later, he would continue to rally against President Wilson and his decision to take American into war — and be jailed for it under the Espionage Act.

Debs was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1855, the son of poor Alsatian immigrants. Though his parents encouraged an intellectual spirit, Debs left high school after one year to become a locomotive paint-scraper. There, among the rough-and-tumble of railway men, Debs found his calling. From his membership in the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen to his role co-founding the Industrial Workers of the World (the “wobblies”), Debs raised his voice in defense of the common man

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/wilson-eugene-debs/

Labor has given the workers ALL the benefits they have used over the last century……and now is the time for labor unions to step up and be at the front of the struggle for the people of this country.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

 

Labor Day 2019

Today we Americans celebrate what passes for Labor Day……we go about BBQ and beer and games and seldom remember that the brave people a hundred years ago had to fight for the benefits that Americans take for granted today.

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So as a service to my readers I give them a history of the labor movement….

The labor movement in the United States grew out of the need to protect the common interest of workers. For those in the industrial sector, organized labor unions fought for better wages, reasonable hours and safer working conditions. The labor movement led efforts to stop child labor, give health benefits and provide aid to workers who were injured or retired.

The origins of the labor movement lay in the formative years of the American nation, when a free wage-labor market emerged in the artisan trades late in the colonial period. The earliest recorded strike occurred in 1768 when New York journeymen tailors protested a wage reduction. The formation of the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) in Philadelphia in 1794 marks the beginning of sustained trade union organization among American workers. 

https://www.history.com/topics/19th-century/labor

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Labor strikes?  When was the very first labor strike in history?

The most important cultural value in ancient Egypt was harmony; known to the Egyptians as ma’at. Ma’at was the concept of universal, communal, and personal balance which allowed for the world to function as it should according to the will of the gods. Throughout most of Egypt’s history this belief served the culture well. The king’s primary duty was to uphold ma’at and maintain balance between the people and their gods. In doing so, he needed to make sure that all of those below him were well cared for, that the borders were secure, and that rites and rituals were performed according to the accepted tradition. All of these considerations provided for the good of the people and the land as the king’s mandate meant that everyone had a job and knew their place in the hierarchy of society.

At certain times, however, the king found it difficult to maintain this harmony due to the press of circumstance and a lack of resources. This situation is clearly apparent toward the end of each of the three periods known as “kingdoms” and sometimes during but an especially interesting incident during the New Kingdom (c. 1570- c.1069 BCE) stands out because it occurred before the actual decline of New Kingdom power and, according to some scholars, marks the beginning of the end: the first labor strike in recorded history.

https://www.ancient.eu/article/1089/the-first-labor-strike-in-history/

Labor is a subject I like to keep my knowledge flowing…… for back years ago I was a labor organizer for the IWW……so I give you some of the songs from the past labor fights…..enjoy some tunes.

Finally Americans are starting to wake up to how damn important the labor movement is as well as unions…..

Sixty-four percent of Americans approve of labor unions, surpassing 60% for the third consecutive year and up 16 percentage points from its 2009 low point. This comes 125 years after President Grover Cleveland signed a law establishing the Labor Day holiday after a period of labor unrest in the U.S.

Union approval averaged 68% between Gallup’s initial measurement in 1936 and 1967, and consistently exceeded 60% during that time. Since 1967, approval has been 10 points lower on average, and has only occasionally surpassed 60%. The current 64% reading is one of the highest union approval ratings Gallup has recorded over the past 50 years, topped only in March 1999 (66%), August 1999 (65%) and August 2003 (65%) surveys.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/265916/labor-day-turns-125-union-approval-near-year-high.aspx

I hope everyone has a good day enjoy family, food and fun….Be well and Be safe!

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Please take some time out of your day’s activities to remember those that were and are in the path of Hurricane Dorian…..

cone graphic

This will be my only post for the day…..As Always Be Well, Be Safe……

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

May Day–2019

Closing Thought–01May19

Today is the International Day of the Worker……he world with the exception of the US will celebrate the worker and his/her contribution to society….the US has to be different and ours is in September….

Knowing me as you do…I must offer some clarification and some history….(it is in my nature)…….

To help my readers with the history of this day I will post a couple of short videos……

As a closing question……who was the first person to use the term….”workers of the world unite”  (oh Hell use Google if you must)…………

I hope that my reader has learned something…..

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Battle Of Blair Mountain

Is this a little known battle of the Revolutionary War? The War of 1812 maybe? How about a decisive battle of the Civil War?

To be honest none of those would be accurate.

As a former labor activist and union organizer I am well aware of this “battle”……this is the battle of coal miners against the exploitative coal mine owners…….

The year is 1921…….

The Battle of Blair Mountain was the result of years of bitter labor disputes between the miners and coal companies of southern West Virginia. Since the late 1800s, the coalfields of the state’s Mingo, Logan and McDowell Counties had operated under a repressive company town system. Workers mined using leased tools and were paid low wages in company currency, or “scrip,” which could only be used at company stores. Safety conditions were often deplorable, yet despite the efforts of groups such as the United Mine Workers (UMW), the mine operators had kept unions out of the region through intimidation and violence. Companies compelled their workers to sign so-called “yellow dog contracts” pledging not to organize, and they used armies of private detectives to harass striking miners and evict them from their company-owned homes.

The hostilities only ramped up in 1920, when the UMW finally started to organize workers in Mingo County. On May 19 of that year, members of the Baldwin-Felts detective agency arrived in the town of Matewan to evict union miners from houses owned by the Stone Mountain Coal Company. After catching wind of the detectives’ activities, Matewan Mayor Cabell Testerman and a pro-union sheriff named Sid Hatfield raised a small posse and confronted them near the local train station. A verbal argument quickly escalated into a gunfight, and when the smoke cleared, seven Baldwin-Felts agents had been killed along with Mayor Testerman and two local miners.

https://www.history.com/news/americas-largest-labor-uprising-the-battle-of-blair-mountain

Labor history is one part of the American history experiment that is seldom taught in our schools….sadly because it was an important part of our history…..

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For the lazy among us….a short videos explaining the Battle Of Blair Mountain……

Class Dismissed!

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