Organized Labor and the American Dream

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Main idea of this organized labor lesson: The story of power, justice, and opportunity is complicated. It is not one of constant or linear progression and expansion, as young people often think.

Time to complete: 2 – 3 class periods

Students read and watch several source documents and then have a rich class discussion on the following questions: 

  • How have power and justice played out over American history?
  • How are fair pay and working conditions related to freedom?
  • What is the role of government in promoting fairness in economic opportunity?
  • Should we be concerned about an ever-widening gap between the extremely wealthy and the working class? Does this strengthen or threaten the American dream?

Like this lesson on organized labor?

Check out more free resources on Share My Lesson in the collection, Labor Day: Union Education Resources.


 #4 Member Lesson of 2018

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December 2018
Another excellent resource from Julie Stern. If you're not following her on SML - you should!