Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Showdown over union rights continues in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Sunday he will not back down from union members and their supporters who continue to protest his proposal to curb collective-bargaining rights for public employees, including teachers. Walker said that if his proposals are not adopted, layoffs will be necessary. Some observers say that even if Walker is unsuccessful, the debate likely is to alter the way public-employee unions negotiate contracts for their members. The New York Times (free registration)

Ideas for using the Wis. protests in lessons: Teachers can put the ongoing protests in Wisconsin in perspective for students by helping them understand both sides of the fight over benefits and collective-bargaining rights for public employees. The writers of this New York Times blog post recommend questions to spark student discussions about the history of labor unions. They also offer several suggested activities, such as asking students to investigate the validity of claims being made by both sides and dividing students into groups to discuss the economic and political climate in several states. NYTimes.com/The Learning Network blog

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