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Outcome: SWBAT explain the history and goals of labor unions PowerPoint Presentation
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KECSS Ms. Murren Economics 11/14/11. Outcome: SWBAT explain the history and goals of labor unions. Students will read about and verbally explain the advantages and disadvantages of labor unions. Initial Activity Group Work.

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Outcome: SWBAT explain the history and goals of labor unions

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mini lesson

Working conditions in the 1880’s were different from those of today. Buildings were very often poorly lighted and ventilated, and machinery was long and wages were low. Health-care benefits, unemployment insurance, sick leave and paid vacations and holidays did not exist.

  • In an attempt to gain some control over their wages and working conditions, many American workers organized to form labor unions.
Mini Lesson
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What is a labor union?

    • An association of workers organized to improve wages and working conditions for its members
  • Unionism was met with strong resistance. In the 1880’s state legislature passed laws against unions and courts upheld them
    • Norris Act 1932– Contracts that require employees to not join unions
    • Taft-Hartley 1947- Outlaws certain strikes
  • The major weapon for workers to use against management was strike
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What is a strike?

    • A deliberate work stoppage by workers to force an employer to give in to their demands
  • What types of unions exist?
    • Craft union- Unions made up workers in a specific trade or industry. Example UFT, CSA, Industrial Unions- Unions made up workers in a specific industry regardless of job or skill level Example OWTU
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Advantages of Unions

Disadvantages of Unions

Higher wages and better benefits



Job Protection

Higher Production Costs

Limited Workplace flexibility

Exclusion of workers outside the union

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How are unions organized?

    • Local Unions- Members of a union in a particular factory, company or geographic area. The local deals with negotiating a contract and making sure the terms of the contract are kept. Ex. UFT
    • National Unions – Above the local unions are the national unions. These are the individual craft or industrial unions that represent locals nationwide. Ex. AFT
    • Federation Level – At the federation level is the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) which is made up of more than 50 national and international unions with about 9 million members
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What are types of Local Unions?

  • A closed shop- Where companies are only allowed to hire union employees (outlawed by the Taft Harley Act (1947))
  • A union shop- company that requires new employees to join a union after a specific period of time
  • Agency shop- Company in which employees are not required to join the union, but must pay dues
    • Some states have right-to-work laws that forbid union shops.
    • Three of the largest unions in the United States are the Teamsters, the United Automobile Workers, and the United Steelworkers of America
Mini Lesson
group assignment

One Page Essay

  • Interview a teacher or parent about their membership in a union. What type of union is it? How much are dues? What services are offered? Is the person satisfied with this union? Are there any disadvantages for him/her to be affiliated with this union
Group Assignment
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When union negotiations breakdown unions may resort to strikes or boycotts

Picketing is the action of strikers who walk in front of a workplace carrying signs that state their disagreement with the company

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What is a boycott? Economic pressure exerted by unions urging the public not to purchase the goods and services produced by a company

What are the tactics used by management?

  • Lockout - A situation that occurs when management prevents workers from returning to work until they agree to a new contract
  • Another tactic that management uses is to bring in ‘scab labor’. These are people who are willing to cross the picket line to work for the terms outlined by the company
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Management sometimes also requests a court injunction to limit picketing or to prevent a strike from continuing or beginning.

    • An injunction is a court order preventing some activity
  • The Taft Hartley Act can postpone a strike for up to 80 days if the strike will endanger the nation’s health or safety.
Mini Lesson