In response to workplace changes introduced by management, workers took action in many ways. Their strongest response was to form unions. In this lesson, students read about how people organized in a Chicago glove-making factory, and then went on strike.
Students read and discuss Agnes Nestor’s story “Birth of a Rank-and-File Organizer,” and then are put in the role of strike participants, who must assess the importance of union recognition: Should they continue to strike for their union even if all other demands have been satisfied? In this activity, students will become aware of a range of causes for strikes, empathize with the problems of workers on strike, and weigh the importance of having a union or not.
The Power In Our Hands — Available for Download
This is one of the 16 lessons available from The Power In Our Hands. Other lessons available for individual download are:
Unit I: Basic Understandings
Unit II: Changes in the Workplace/”Scientific Management”
- Paper Airplane Simulation
- Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing
- Modern Times
- “Taylorizing” Burgers: A Fantasy
Unit III: Defeats, Victories, Challenges
Unit IV: Our Own Recent Past
- It’s a Mystery — White Workers Against Black Workers
- Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union: Black and White Unite?
- 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike
- Union Maids
Unit V: Continuing Struggle
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