Teaching Activity. By Teaching Tolerance. Introduces students to the role of the labor movement in securing contemporary benefits such as the 40-hour workweek, the minimum wage, and workplace safety regulations.
This lesson introduces students to the origins of the minimum wage and the 40-hour work week. Using reader-friendly articles and small group activities, the lesson emphasizes the actions taken by workers and activists to make sure a minimum wage was established in law and enforced.
The readings and activities are appropriate for grades 6 to 12 and can be used in social studies or language arts classrooms.
To understand the debate over the Employee Free Choice Act, one must understand the basics of the labor movement and union organization. That’s not easy, in a world in which union organization has hit a low point. Fewer than ten percent of American workers today are unionized, compared to 35 percent in the mid-20th century. Yet we all benefit from rules such as the 40-hour workweek, the minimum wage, and workplace safety regulations.
This lesson draws on students’ prior knowledge to help them understand the importance of the labor movement.
Teaching Tolerance offers other lessons on labor and organizing, such as: