The Social Responsibility of business indicates the duties of the administration of a business enterprise to safeguard the welfare of society. According to this concept, the objective of the executives in making a business decision is not only to maximize profits and shares but also to serve the members of the general public. Consequently, consideration of the workers, customers, and the whole community should be factored in by the companies.
Business Social Responsibility
Pullman was well known for addressing the issue of the African-Americans who were discriminated against by the whites. They were underpaid, overworked, and humiliated, and they also had to undergo endless racism while working. Nevertheless, Pullman came through for them when he began hiring many African-Americans and former slaves to attend to white customers traveling on his firm’s luxury sleeping cars. He aided in promoting civil rights and the future of African Americans.
In 1859, when the railroads were growing their spread through America, Pullman persuaded the Chicago, Alton, and St. Louis Railroad to let him transform two old passenger vehicles into new sleepers. They were extra comfortable and very deluxe cars which were an instantaneous triumph (Richardson, 2016). The more affluent travelers had the opportunity to enjoy the comfort they were acquainted with at home, while the middle-class passengers wanted a taste of a decent life.
Subsequently, working as Pullman Porter became the most admired job and a career, and many African Americans followed the footsteps of their grandfathers and fathers. They were paid more than what other black staff made at that time, and the job was not as tiring as the field toil. More significantly, they had the opportunity to travel around the country when this was an impossibility for most people of color.
As the potter’s fame grew due to their extraordinary service, many former employees transitioned to jobs at high-class restaurants and hotels, and others even advanced to the white house. Apart from the opportunities they enjoyed, they had to put up with disregard and prejudice. Most of the whites whom they served called them “boy” or “George” irrespective of their actual names. These names were a very painful resemblance to the past slavery, where slaves were called after their possessors.
Moreover, Pullman potters worked for about 400 hours a month, with very little time off. As their pay was coveted in the black society, they were amongst the worst-paid train personnel. Tipping became a portion of the salary structure, and it hoarded the firm much money but, on the other hand, encouraged the employees to ask for more tips. Therefore, powering their later character as grinning “Uncle Toms,” who exaggerated their slavery to intensify their tips.
In the 1890s, the American Railway Union organized most Pullman workers but refused to embrace black staff. The Black employees were encouraged to form the first African American labor Union, to mark a united negotiating arrangement with a key U.S. corporation. The union was known as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, founded in 1925 (Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 2021). Philip Randolph was the dedicated and determined President of the Union. He struggled to advance the working environments and salary for the blacks working at Pullman’s company.
Due to the robust opposition by the Pullman Firm, Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Cars (BSCP) had to fight for not less than ten years before fortifying their initial collective negotiating agreement. Moreover, it became the first-ever agreement among the major U.S. company and unions of black employees in 1937. The negros secure a higher wage, but the working hours limit was reduced to 240 hours in a month (“brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters,” 2021). The President and other BSCP leaders would perform critical roles in the civil liberties movement, serving to impact public procedure in Washington D.C., which eventually directed the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
Since the beginning, the black railroad workers had served as agents of change in their societies. They managed to carry new fundamental ideas and even new music from the urban areas to the rural and north to the South. Their impact fueled the Great Migration, through which about six million African Americans moved from the South to the North and West (“How the Pullman Porters Helped Elevate a New Black Middle Class,” 2021). They migrated from the rural areas to the urban centers, which was the beginning of the civilization of the Negros.
By observing the lives of the wealthy white Americans, the blacks could clearly differentiate the big difference between their own lives and those of the whites. Equipped with this knowledge, they saved up money to take their children to graduate school and college. They ensured that their offspring got opportunities that they never had the chance of themselves. In turn, these kids would form the realm growing black skilled class. Most of them would be outstanding figures in different fields, from politics, law, and journalism to music and sports.
Richardson, A. V. (2016). The platform: How Pullman porters used railways to engage in networked journalism. Journalism Studies, 17(4), 398-414.