Labor, Wages & Unions
Discussion & Essay Questions
Available to teachers only as part of the Labor, Wages & UnionsTeacher Pass
Labor, Wages & Unions Teacher Pass includes:
- Assignments & Activities
- Reading Quizzes
- Current Events & Pop Culture articles
- Discussion & Essay Questions
- Challenges & Opportunities
- Related Readings in Literature & History
Sample of Discussion & Essay Questions
- There is a movement to unionize all federal and state employees. Do you support or oppose this movement? Take the perspective of a clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles and a farmer in Illinois.
- Where do unions help? Where do they hurt?
- Do you think labor laws have evolved so much since the early 1900s that unions are no longer necessary?
- Currently, most states have union pension obligations that they have no way of paying. However, these obligations are considered contracts. What should the states do?
- UPS wants to force Federal Express to become a unionized company. All sides in the dispute agree that FedEx has a competitive advantage over UPS because FedEx doesn’t have a union. FedEx operates under the Railway Labor Act because it was created as an airline. (It would, incidentally, take a dissertation to explain why airline workers are regulated like brakemen.) However, UPS was started as a trucking company, which is why its workers come under the National Labor Relations Act, which is more friendly to union organizing and striking. Would you side with UPS or FedEx?
- Do you aspire to join a union?
- If you were running a company, would you want to have unionized employees?
- Some argue that government workers should be paid more than those in the private sector because they are more highly trained than their private sector counterparts. Do you agree or disagree?
- Card check is a policy making it easier for companies to be unionized. It removes the secret ballot for union votes. Do you support card check?
- Are unions in decline?
- Should the minimum wage be raised? Why or why not?
- Should the minimum wage for teenagers be eliminated? What could this do to teen unemployment?
- Financial regulation requires that government contractors hire minorities and women. Evaluate that policy from the perspective of a Native American woman and a white man.
- Few of what are considered "the best run companies" or "the best companies to work for" are unionized? Why? Should they be?
- Should federal and state contractors be selected for jobs because they are unionized or because they provide the best service for the lowest cost to taxpayers?