US Labor HistoryDecades of Resistance - Facilitator s ... - AFSCME

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					          US LABOR HISTORY:
                   FACILITATOR’S GUIDE

2011      AFSCME Education Department – US Labor History 
AFSCME Curriculum Library 2011

                        LABOR HISTORY
                          FACILITATOR’S GUIDE

                            TRAINING OBJECTIVES:  
    As a result of this training, participants will: 
       • Learn about significant labor events from the past century. 
       • Gain a greater understanding of the relevance of past events 
          on today’s unions and working people. 
       • Be inspired by the stories from the past and from each other. 
       • Build connections and relationships with others here today. 

TIME:                    90 minutes

TECHNIQUES:              Small group exercise
                         Large group discussion

CAPACITY:                20-25 PPL

MATERIALS:               Flipcharts
                         Post-it notes (preferably 4x6)
                         Event Sheets (on green paper)
                         Impact Sheets (on blue paper)
                         Handout#1: A Century of Labor History
                         (separate document)

OPTIONAL:                CD player/laptop with speakers and union music
                         (Education Department has a music CD available
                         upon request.)

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                         Marvin Gaye’s song “What’s Going On?”

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 1.     Prepare a visual timeline. Use two flipchart pages per quarter
        century and two flipchart pages for the decade, for example 1900-
        1925, 1926-1950, 1951-1975, 1976-2000, 2001-2010.

        Tape them together horizontally and place each on a clear wall
        space – you will have 5 sets.

        Sample of one of the quarter centuries:

         1900                                                    1925

 2.     Under each timeline, place the event and impact sheets IN
        RANDOM ORDER for the corresponding quarter century.

 3.     Post several pieces of tape on the walls near each timeline.

 4.     Set up equipment to play union songs as people come into the


 1.     Welcome participants and introduce yourself. If there aren’t too
        many people (less than 20), ask them to briefly introduce
        themselves to the group.

                          • Name 
                          • Job 
                          • Where You’re from 
                          • What you do 

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 2.     Let them know that we will be exploring U.S. and AFSCME labor
        history from 1900 to present day.

 3.     ASK: Why do you think it’s important to learn our labor history?

          • To learn strategies that work
          • So we don’t repeat mistakes of the past
          • History cycles
          • To appreciate all that was done for us and is being done today

 4.     Go over the objectives of the training:

                          TRAINING OBJECTIVES 
           As a result of this training, we hope you will: 
           •  Learn about significant labor events from the past century. 
           • Gain a greater understanding of the impact of past events 
              on today’s unions and working people. 
           • Feel inspired by the struggles and successes from the past. 
           • Share stories and build connections with others here 

5.      Tell them that before we focus in on labor history specifically, we’re
        going to get a sense of what was going on in the broader world over
        the past century.

6.      Split participants into five groups by asking them to count off by 5’s.
        Instruct the 1’s to go to the first quarter century timeline, the 2’s to
        the second quarter century timeline, etc. until each group has
        gathered by a timeline.

7.      Give each group markers and post-it notes.

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8.      Go over the instructions on the prepared flipchart.

                            SMALL GROUP WORK 
          •   Discuss the following questions:  
                 - What was the popular music, fashion or fads of this 
                    time period? 
                 - What were important historical events in this period?   
                 - Did you/or your family experience something big 
                    during this time?  
          •   Write your answers on post it notes (with markers) 
              and place them on the timeline. 
          •   Pick a reporter to share your work with the larger 
          •   You have 10‐15 minutes.   

 9.     OPTIONAL: While the groups are working, play Marvin Gaye’s
        “What’s Going On?”

 10. Ask each group spokesperson to report out about the fads,
     historical events, personal family stories etc. After each report,
     share some of the additional tidbits from the SIGN OF THE TIMES
     at the end of this curriculum. (Less than 2 minutes per report).

 11. After the reports, ASK: What are some parallels between history
     and today (i.e. Great Depression of 1929, Exxon Valdez and BP
     spill today)?

 12. Tell participants now that we have a sense of some of the
     important historical moments and trends that influenced the era,
     we’ll take a look at the labor history.

 13. Ask participants to return to the timeline they worked on.

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 14. Inform the groups that they will be given EVENT SHEETS that
     outline several significant events in labor history over their period of
     time; they will also be given Impact Sheets that describe the
     importance of these historical events.

 15. Review the instructions on the prepared flipchart.

        a) Match up the EVENT and IMPACT sheets and place them 
           on the timeline in chronological order. 
        b) As a group, decide which event had the most significant 
        c) You have 10 minutes. 
        d) Choose a different spokesperson to report out. 

 16. OPTIONAL: play union music while the groups are working.

 17. Ask each spokesperson to:
       • Tell us the events that occurred in his/her group’s time period.
       • Share the event his/her group chose as having the most
          significant impact and why.

 18. After all the reports, ask the larger group if they notice any trends
     when they look at the timelines.

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 19. Conduct a brief review of the labor history events and their impacts
     from each quarter century.

          • In the 1 quarter century, there were no laws governing union
            formation and relationships with employers, and we see a lot
            of worker struggle and violence directed towards them.
          • In the 2 quarter century, we see a public reaction to how the
            government and the boss oppressed workers in the decades
            before and also the general population’s experiences of
            oppression during the Great Depression. These lead to the
            passage of laws to support union organizing and worker
          • In the 3 quarter century, we see the flowering of the Civil
            Rights Movement and a strong labor movement. ASK: Where
            were good jobs during this time? Answer: The private sector
            (i.e. the auto plant). Not many people were attracted to the
            public sector at this time because the pay and benefits weren’t
            all that great! Point out that now, it is reversed!
          • In the 4 quarter century, we see the rise again of the boss
            and corporate America (i.e. laws that protect the boss rather
            than the workers).
          • In the Millennium, you see us now – organizing and mobilizing
            workers and trying to reclaim our glory days (i.e. Next Wave is
            one effort)!

21.     Encourage folks to “walk the walls” and check the timelines out
        further as they leave.

22.     Distribute the two handouts that go into more depth on U.S. and
        AFSCME labor history: HANDOUT#1: A CENTURY OF LABOR

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                           SUMMARY POINTS:
        • Many historical events ‐ political, economic and social 
          have had a profound impact on the labor movement and 
          working people. 
        • It is critical to know where we, as a labor movement, 
          have come from – the battles we have fought and won 
          and the battles we have lost. 
        • Those that went before us made incredible sacrifices to 
          achieve protections we take for granted today.  It is up to 
          us, as union leaders and activists, to fight to keep these 
          hard won rights and protect the future of those to come. 

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                           “SIGN OF THE TIMES”

1900 - 1925       In 1910, the average worker earned $12.98/week for 59
                  In 1910, the life expectancy for men 46.3 and women
                  Swing dancing was featured on radio shows.

1903              Ford Motor Company was founded

1910              Charlie Chaplin
                  Ty Cobb

1914              WWI begins in Europe

1920              The 19th amendment passes (all women can vote)

1927              1st “talkie” movie (“The Jazz Singer)

1929              The Great Depression

1932              Amelia Earhart flies across the Atlantic Ocean

1933              The New Deal

1941              Pearl Harbor
                  Japanese American internment begins

1942              “Casablanca” hits the silver screen

1944              The GI Bill

1945              End of WWII

1950’s            TV Dinners
                  Pompadour hairdo
                  3D movies

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                           “SIGN OF THE TIMES”

1954              Brown Vs Board of Education

1955              Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus Boycott begins

1959              Cuban Revolution
                  Alaska and Hawaii

1960’s            American Bandstand
                  Flower power
                  British invasion (Rolling Stones, Beatles…)
                  Fallout shelters
                  Barbie Dolls

1960              Civil Rights Act 1960

1961              Bay of Pigs

1969              Neil Armstrong walks on the moon

1970’s            The Hustle
                  Charlie’s Angels
                  Toga parties
                  Hot wheels

1974              Watergate

1980’s            Leg warmers over jeans
                  Mullets (business up front and party in the back)
                  “Just say no”
                  Moon walking and break dancing

1986              Iran Contra

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                           “SIGN OF THE TIMES”

1989              Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska’s Prince William Sound
                  Berlin Wall falls in Germany

1990’s            Macarena
                  Stoner/slacker humor (Beavis and Butthead, Wayne’s

1992              Rodney King and the LA Riots

1999              Columbine shooting

2000              Web 2.0 (YouTube, wiki, myspace, Friendster,
                  Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
                  Atkins diet
                  Reality television

2001              9/11
                  Patriot Act

2010              Healthcare Reform is passed
                  BP oilrig explodes off the Louisiana Coast
                  SB 1070
                  Life expectancy for men 75.7 and women 80.8

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WORKSHOP:   ______________________  
DATE:         ______________________  
        Content/Exercises:        Excellent     Very Good     Good     Adequate  Poor  
        Presenters:               Excellent     Very Good     Good     Adequate  Poor  
        Handouts/Materials:       Excellent     Very Good     Good     Adequate  Poor  
        Overall:                  Excellent     Very Good     Good     Adequate  Poor  

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