High School Unit III

Activity 3: Why Unions?

The purpose of the discussion is to assess how much students know before they explore the topic further. Students may take turns serving as note takers for the class or the activity may be done individually or in small groups. Record what students know about unions so you can compare it to what they know at the end of the lesson.


  1. When were the first trade unions formed in the U.S.?
  2. What is the purpose of a trade union?
  3. Do students know anyone who belongs to a union? Who? What union?
  4. What union activities on the local or state level have students heard about recently?

Extended research:

What major national strikes have occurred in recent years? (for example, UPS) What were the issues? What was the outcome?