Pittsburgh railroad strike of 1877

Strikes and riots in Pittsburgh in 1877

The Pittsburgh railroad strike occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as part of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 in the United States, incidents of strikes, labor unrest and violence in numerous cities across the country, and one of several in Pennsylvania. Other cities dealing with railroad strikes were Philadelphia, Reading, Shamokin and Scranton. The strikes followed repeated reductions in wages and sometimes increases in workload by the railroad companies, during a period of economic recession following the Panic of 1873. In this same period, some companies gave their top management raises.

It was bread or blood, and they could get any number of men to come up and prevent the running through of any train until the matter was arranged with them.


  • It's a question of bread or blood, and we're going to resist.
    • Flagman Andrew Hice to a railroad supervisor, July 18 1877, in Lloyd, John P. (2009). "The Strike Wave of 1877". Routledge. 
  • We're with you. We're in the same boat. I heard a reduction of ten percent hinted at in our mill this morning. I won't call employers despots, I won't call them tyrants, but the term capitalist is sort of synonymous and will do as well.
    • Mill worker, speaking of the railroad strikers, in Brecher, Jeremy (1 April 2014). Strike!. PM Press. ISBN 1604864281. 
  • Meeting an enemy on the field of battle, you go there to kill. The more you kill, and the quicker you do it, the better. But here you had men with fathers and brothers and relatives in the crowd of rioters. The sympathy of the people, the sympathy of the troops, my own sympathy, was with the strikers proper. We all felt that those men were not receiving enough wages.
    • Officer reporting the state of his troops to his superior, in Brecher, Jeremy (1 April 2014). Strike!. PM Press. ISBN 1604864281. 

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