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Lesson plan: Role of labor in U.S. history and today

Grade Level Grades 6-12
Resource Type Lesson Plan

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At a time of growing economic inequality and extravagant wealth akin to the Gilded Age, is the U.S. also entering a new era of support for workers’ rights? After 40 years of declining union membership, Amazon workers on Staten Island, New York, voted in early April 2022 to become the first Amazon warehouse to unionize in the country. Organizers are demanding better wages, safer working conditions and longer breaks. The multibillion-dollar online retail giant maintains they keep workers safe and launched a union-busting campaign to put an end to unionization efforts.

In this lesson, students will examine some of the factors contributing to today’s labor organizing and the challenges and successes thus far. It will also allow students to compare today’s movements with earlier labor movements from 1875 to 1900, better known as the Gilded Age.

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