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Why Focus on the Workplace and Unions?

Burger Bargaining

Where Will the Jobs Be?

From Section 1, Lesson 1
Why Focus On the Workplace and Unions? 

Overview: This introductory lesson gets students thinking about work, unions, nd what they stand for, and how they gain a voice in the workplace.


Part 1     Feelings about "work" A free association exercise aimed at showing diversity of attitudes and expectations about work.

Part 2     Introduction to the curriculum. A letter to students on what they will learn in the curriculum.

Part 3     What Do Unions Stand For? Teaching labor's principles and values through the slogans they turn into buttons and bumper stickers. Use Buttons and Bumper Stickers as a handout or overhead. Buttons and Bumper Stickers. Explain that buttons and bumper stickers are tools unions use to display what they stand for and that they're a good indication of the principles and values that unions embrace.

Ask students what they think each one means and in what situations they might apply. Once students are clear on the meaning of them, ask if they can tell you what values or principles the labor movement is saying it stands for with these buttons and bumper stickers. 

Some of the values and principles are:

  •   We are our brothers' keepers
  •   People have power when they unite
  •   Equality and fair treatment -- due process
  •   The right to leisure and family life
  •   Opportunity for all to jobs and advancement
  •   Respect and a living wage
  •   No discrimination -- equal treatment
  •   Workers rights are human rights
  •   Rights are protected through participation

Part 4     Understanding the balance of power. This is a lottery game which aims at showing students the difference between playing as individuals or as a group and the power of group action. It develops the understanding of how worker organization can give them real power.

Part 5     Supplementary activity or homework Students are iven a factsheet about unions adapted from the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice and a worksheet to summarize what they've learned.


From Section 1 Lesson 5

Burger Bargaining

United Burgermakers vs. McGutbombs

United Burgermakers Union Local 33 represents all the employees ranked below Assistant Manager at the McGutbombs' Palace of Burgers in the town of Paradise in the state of Nirvana...

* * *

In this lesson students become union or management and are given all the background information to negotiate the contract between UB Local 33 and McGutbombs. They confront business problems, scheduling difficulties, and the growing issue of red meat in trying to craft an agreement in the interests of both sides. It's fun, dramatic, and teaches skills they can use no matter where they go to work.

* * *

. . .However, there's trouble in Paradise according to McGutbombs' management. Pizzazz Pizza and Fish'n Grease, two national chains, have announced that they intend to build facilities in Paradise near the highway exit. . .          



from Section 3 Lesson 13

Where Will the Jobs Be? Training Opportunities for Lifelong Careers

Students will investigate where future jobs will be and what training is required and get exposed to opportunities available through labor unions and certified apprenticeships programs.

1. Students will receive a handout called Where Will Jobs Be from Now through 2010? Teacher should explain the information and show students how tor read the tables on job projections.

2. Students will then be asked to draw conclusions on which jobs are growing and why it's important to know.

3. In a previous lesson they each developed their own criteria for what is a good job, and they will now be asked to apply those criteria to the jobs they are discussing.

4. They will then take their favorite jobs and ask how much training they would need and how much does the job pay?

5. Teachers are encouraged to call ILS to schedule local apprenticeship coordinators, instructors or labor representatives to speak to the classroom on their occupations.

To update employment projections, go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/emp/home.htm




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last updated Tuesday, September 7, 2004
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