In the late 1800s, Pullman was one of the largest producers of luxury rail sleeper cars in the world and its owner, George Pullman, developed a town for his workers on what is now the Far South Side of Chicago. In 1894, in response to the depression, known as the Panic of 1893, a year earlier, Pullman laid off workers and lowered wages, but did not lower rents in the company-owned homes he built for his workers. This sparked a nationwide strike and local riots on May 11, 1894 involving nearly 4,000 workers against the company and U.S. government.
Pullman workers camp-out at The Chicago Courthouse from Calumet412
Eventually, 125,000 workers boycotted the railways, causing the government to get involved since mail delivery was being disrupted; U.S. Army troops and U.S. Marshalls were sent in to get people back to work. In the end, violence erupted, leaving 30 strikers dead and another 57 wounded with $80 million in damage to property, which is nearly $2.2 billion in today’s money. This also prompted Labor Day to be made a national holiday.
Check out some photos during the strike and riots from Calumet412.com.