The Pullman Strike

The Pullman Strike role-play explores a defining moment in American labor history. What is the proper balance of power between bosses and workers? How much influence should big companies have over people's lives?

The Pullman Strike

This VOXPOP is set in Chicago in 1894, during the Pullman Strike. Students take on the roles of Executives, Union Workers, ARU Allies and Non-Union Workers. After being introduced to the situation, students work with other members of their group to define their values.

Students then debate and vote on three key issues:

Pay - Who gets to decide what a fair wage is?

Housing - Should a company control how its workers live?

Management - Who gets to make decisions in the workplace?

At the end of the VOXPOP, an epilogue video lays out what actually happened.


Students: 6 to 50

Running Time: 90 minutes (the role-play can be broken into multiple sessions)

Teacher Guide: Pullman Strike Teacher Walkthrough PDF