Today in labor history: Pullman strike leader murder sparks huge protest funeral

On this day in 1894, during the Pullman strike, Charles Leonard, a representative of Omaha Railway murdered Charles Luth, a railroad switchman and union activist. Luth was protesting the use of scab labor during the strike. A huge funeral ensured at St. Paul’s historic Rice Park. The strike was led by the American Railway Union (ARU) founded by socialist leader Eugene Debs.

When the company refused to recognize the union Debs led a massive boycott against all trains that carried Pullman cas. As a result most rail lines west of Detroit  were shutdown. At its peak the labor action involved some 250,000 workers in 27 states.

Photo: Wikipedia (CC)