troops were ordered from Eastern garrisons, and they dispersed the mobs. In Cincinnati, Toledo and St Louis mobs of roughs and tramps collected, and succeeded in closing most of the shops, factories and rolling-mills in those cities. There were also formidable demonstrations in Chicago, as well as in Syracuse, Buffalo, West Albany and Hornell, New York, where mobs were dispersed by the state militia without violence or destruction of property.
The Pennsylvania Railroad also had a memorable strike, accompanied by riots and much violence and destruction of property, during the same year, the strike being ordered on account of a general reduction in wages and some other causes which came in to create the difficulty. The complete story of this strike is too long to relate here, but from the beginning the strikers had the active sympathy of a large proportion of the people of Pittsburg, where the chief movements occurred. The actual loss to the Pennsylvania Company, not including freight, has been estimated at $2,000,000, while the loss of property and loss of business at Pittsburg amounted to $5,000,000. Claims were presented before the courts in Allegheny county to the amount of over $3,500,000, while the actual amount paid by compromise and judgments was over $2,750,000. Both the foregoing strikes were unsuccessful.
The next great strike was that of the telegraphists, which occurred in the year 1883. This strike was inaugurated to secure the abolition of Sunday work without extra pay, the reduction of day-turns to eight hours, and the equalization of pay between the sexes for the same kind of work. Universal increase of wages was also demanded. The strike commenced on the 19th of July and ended on the 23rd of August 1883, although it was declared off on the 17th of the latter month. It was unsuccessful, the employees losing $250,000 and expending $62,000 in assistance to destitute fellow operators. The employers lost nearly $1,000,000.
Another historic strike, only partially successful, was that on the South-Western or Gould system of railways in the years 1885-1886, but the most prominent labour controversies in the 19th century were those at Homestead, Pa., in July 1892, and at Chicago in 1894, concerning which a more detailed account is given below. Other great labour convulsions have occurred which help to identify the decade beginning 1890 with the great strike era of the century. Among them may be named the Lehigh Valley railroad strike in December 1893, the American Railway Union strike on the Great Northern railway in April 1894; the great coal strike, which occurred in the same month; the difficulties at Lattimer, Pa.; and those in the Coeur d'Alene district of Idaho.
In July 1892 there occurred a most serious affair between the Carnegie Steel Company and its employees at what is known as the Homestead Strike or Riot. Homestead Works, near Pittsburg, growing out of a disagreement in the previous month in regard to wages. The parties were unable to come to an agreement, and the company closed its works on the 30th of June and discharged its men. Only a small portion of the men were affected by the proposed adjustment of wages. The larger portion of them, who were members of the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, were not affected at all, nor was the large force of employees, some three thousand in number, who were not members of that association. The company refused to recognize the association as an organization, or to hold any conference with its representatives. Upon the failure to arrive at an adjustment of the wage difficulty the company proposed to operate its works by the employment of non-union men. The men, who could not secure recognition, refused to accept the reduced rates of wages, and also came to the determination that they would resist thecompany in every attempt to secure non-union workers.
composing the Amalgamated Association proceeded to organize what was styled an “advisory committee” to take charge of affairs for the strikers. All employees of the company were directed to break their contracts and to refuse to work until the Amalgamated Association was recognized and its terms agreed to. The works were shut down two days prior to the time provided by the contract under which the men were working, and, as alleged, because the workmen had seen fit to hang the president of the company in effigy. On the 4th of July the officers of the company asked the sheriff of the county to appoint deputies to protect the works while they carried out their intention of making repairs. The employees, on their part organized themselves to defend the works against what they called encroachments or demands to enter; in fact, they took possession of the Homestead Steel Works. When the sheriff's men approached, the workmen, who were assembled in force, notified them to leave the place, as they did not intend to create any disorder, and would not allow any damage to be done to the property of the company. They further offered to act as deputies, an offer which was declined. The advisory committee, which had been able to preserve the peace thus far, dissolved on the rejection of their offer to serve as deputies and conservators of the peace, and all of their records were destroyed. The immediate cause of the fighting which subsequently took place at Homestead was the approach of a bodyof Pinkerton's detectives, who were gathered in two barges on the
arrived the workmen broke through the mill fence, entrenching themselves behind the steel billets, and made all preparations to resist the approach of the Pinkerton barges; and they resisted all attempts to land, the result being a fierce battle, brought on by a heavy volley of shots from the strikers. The Pinkertons were armed with Winchesters, but they were obliged to land and ascend the embankment single file, and so were soon driven back to the boats, suffering severely from the fire of the strikers. Many efforts were made to land, but the position of the men they were attacking, behind their breastworks of steel rails and billets, was very strong, and from this place of safe refuge the detectives were subjected to a galling fire. This opening battle took place on the 5th of July, about four o'clock in the morning, and was continued in a desultory way during the day. It was renewed the following day. A brass ten-pound cannon had been secured by the strikers, and planted so as to command the barges moored at the banks of the river. Another force of one thousand men had taken up a position on the opposite side of the river, where they protected themselves and a cannon which they had obtained by a breastwork of railway ties. A little before nine o'clock a bombardment commenced, the cannon being turned on the boats, and the firing was kept up for several hours. The boats were protected by heavy steel plates inside, so efforts were made to fire them. Hose was procured and oil sprayed on the decks and sides, and at the same time many barrels of oil were emptied into the river above the mooring place, the purpose being to ignite it and then allow it to float against the boats. Under these combined movements the Pinkertons were obliged to throw out a flag of truce, but it was not recognized by the strikers. The officers of the Amalgamated Association, however, interfered, and a surrender of the detectives was arranged. It was agreed that they should be safely guarded, under condition that they left their arms and ammunition; and, having no alternative, they accepted the terms. Seven had been killed and twenty or thirty wounded. On the 10th of July, after several days' correspondence with the state authorities, the governor sent the entire force of the militia of the state to Homestead. On the 12th the troops arrived, the town was placed under martial law, and order was restored. There had been much looting, clubbing and stoning, and as the detectives, after surrender, passed through the streets they were treated with great abuse. Eleven workmen and spectators were killed in the fights.
Congress made an investigation of this strike, but no legislative action was ever taken. Some indictments were made and lawsuits ensued. The mills were gradually supplied with new people, but the strike was not declared off until the 20th of November 1892. The Homestead strike must be considered as the bitterest labour war in the United States prior to the Chicago strike in 1894. It was unsuccessful.
Probably the most expensive and far-reaching labour controversy which can properly be classed among the historic controversies of The Chicago or Pullman Strike. this generation was the Chicago strike of June and July 1894. Beginning with a private strike at the works of Pullman's Palace Car Company at Pullman, a suburb of Chicago, it ended with a practical insurrection of the labour employed on the principal railways radiating from Chicago and some of their affiliated lines, paralysing internal commerce, putting the public to great inconvenience, delaying the mails, and in general demoralizing business. Its influences were felt all over the country, to greater or less extent, according to the lines of traffic and the courses of trade. The contest was not limited to the parties with whom it originated, for soon there were Drought into it two other factors or forces. The original strike grew out of a demand of certain employees of the Pullman Company in May 1894 for a restoration of the wages paid during the previous year. The company claimed that the reduction in the volume of business, owing to business depression, did not warrant the payment of the old wages. On account of the increased production of rolling-stock to meet the traffic incident to the World's Fair in 1893, orders for building cars were not easily obtainable, a large portion of the business of the Pullman Company being contract business in the way of building cars for railway companies generally. This state of affairs resulted in a partial cessation of car-building everywhere in the country, the Pullman Company suffering with all others. The demand of the employees therefore was not acceded to, and on the 11th of May 1894 a strike was ordered. Several minor grievances were claimed to have existed and to have led to the action of the strikers, who had joined the American Railway Union, an association of railway employees which had achieved a partial success in a contest with the Great Northern Railway a few weeks previous to the Pullman strike. The Railway Union espoused the cause of the Pullman employees on the ground that they were members thereof. This union was said to number about 150,000 members. It undertook to force the Pullman Company to accede to the demands of its employees by boycotting Pullman cars; that is to say, they declared that they would not handle Pullman cars on the railways unless the Pullman Company would accede to the demands made upon it. The immediate antagonist of the Pullman Company in the extendedcontroversy was therefore the American Railway Union.