Here is a piece from the New York City Department of Education Community School District 28, Gotham Center of New York City History. It starts out with “The Great Uprising” of workers which began in Martinsburg, WV in July, 1877 when the B&O announced a 10% pay cut.
“Already reeling from the faltering economy, the workers in Martinsburg, West Virginia responded with a strike. The railroad countered by requesting assistance from the state militia, violence ensued, and the work stoppage spread to Baltimore. Determined not to take further losses, B & O took the dispute to the federal government. The new administration of then President Rutherford B. Hayes responded by sending the US Army to West Virginia to prevent what he called “an insurrection.” Enraged by the collusion between big business and the government, thousands of other Americans of many different back grounds—German immigrants in Chicago, African-American militias in Pennsylvania—demonstrated in support of the railroad workers, setting off clashes with law enforcement and additional strikes in Pittsburgh, Chicago, St. Louis, Buffalo, and elsewhere. In New York State, the governor declared martial law. Within two weeks, the strikes had spread to fourteen cities. 100,000 people were on strike; half the freight on the railroads had stopped moving.” [emphasis added.]
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