Girl Scout Patch: Unions in the Community

A New Penn's Wood Patch for Cadettes and Seniors

Organized labor unions played an important part in the history of this country. They were instrumental in negotiating safe working conditions, benefits, fair wages and protecting workers from unfair labor practice, etc. They were especially influential in the mining industry that is so much a part of our council’s heritage. In cooperation with The Greater Wilkes Barre Labor Council’s Community Services Committee, Penn’s Woods has developed a patch for Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts to help girls understand what organized labor did for workers and what they continue to do now and in the future.

After completing the requirements, complete the attached report form and return it to the Council office, attention Program and Training Department. Patches will be available through the Sales shop.

To complete the patch do seven of the following activities, including the three that are starred.

  1. Read a book, see a movie, or locate a labor monument or landmark relating to the history of the labor movement.   Develop a skit based on what you have learned.   Include reference to three major achievements of labor unions and at least one person, male or female, prominent in the labor movement.   Present your skit to another troop or your families.   Refer to resource list for titles of movies and books. ***
  2. Arrange to visit the office or attend a meeting of a local union, an AFL-CIO labor council or an independent employee organization.   What does the organization do? If you attended a meeting, what did they talk about?   Discuss what you have learned with your troop or family.   (See attached list of suggested unions to visit.)
  3. Locate someone who is an active or retired member of a union and interview them.   Hint: teacher, nurse, laborer, utility employee, plumber, electrician, grocery store employee or use the attached resource list.   Find out what union they belong to.   What do they think are the advantages of belonging to a union?   The disadvantages?   How has being a union member influenced them?
  4. Investigate some things that might concern workers, for example childcare, health insurance, pensions, job assignments, seniority, and wages.   Investigate what the union and management positions might be on at least two of these issues.   Using this information, role-play a discussion that might take place between union members and management on at least two of these issues with your troop/group or family members.
  5. Go to the library or online to research the issues that lead to a strike.   With others, discuss the issues or have a mock debate about the issues from the workers’ point of view and management’s point of view.   Find out what each side agreed on to settle the strike.
  6. Investigate child labor laws. How were children treated in the workplace before child labor laws were passed? How and when were child labor laws instituted and why? Or, investigate the role unions have had in promoting equal pay for women. How did wages differ for men and women 10 years ago? 25? 50? What legislation was passed on this issue?
  7. Research the meaning of at least 10 key terms used in labor relations. Make a poster, dictionary, or pictionary of these terms.   Suggestions: closed workplace, agency shop, open shop, right-to-work laws, shop steward, and injunction. ***
  8. Choose one industry and compare the wages, benefits, and working conditions in a union shop versus a non-union shop.   If possible, visit both a union and non-union company in this industry or talk to someone who works for a union and non-union company in the same industry.   Find out how their companies compare in the following areas: wages, benefits and working conditions.
  9. Find out about a union sponsored service project.   Participate in that service project.   Be sure to follow guidelines in “Safety Wise”.   See resource list for suggestions. ***
  10. All unions have their own logos or label.   Many unions put their logos/labels on the products they make.   The most familiar label is put on clothing but other products also have them; for example; soda, cars, stationary, greeting cards, food products and glass.   Visit a grocery, hardware, discount or other store and find examples of between 3 and 5 logos/labels.
  11. Identify 5 union job sites in your community.   What products or services do they provide?   What union or unions are represented?   Visit the site and talk to a union representative to find out what key issues were negotiated in their last contract.
  12. Music played an important role in the labor movement.   Find out about music written for the labor movement or the social justice causes that unions endorse.   Learn one song and perform it or teach it to another group.   You might include a short history of the song.   Hint: check out Woody Guthrie; Peter, Paul and Mary; The Pointer Sisters; and Joe Glazer from Philadelphia.   Or research the history of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union Chorus, based in Wilkes Barre, and if possible, attend a performance. Contact Betty Friday at 735-4356 for a schedule of their performances.

Resource List

Movies

9 to 5

The Molly McGuires

Silkwood

The Organizer

Matewan

Women of Summer

Norma Rae

Rosie the Riveter

Books

“Fighter with a Heart” by Charles McCollester

“The River Ran Red”

“The Fall of the House of Labor” by David Montgomery

Autobiography of Florence Kelly

“Homestead: The Glory of Tragedy of an American Steel Town” by Bill Serrin

“Maida Springer: Pan-Africanist and International Labor Leader”

Autobiography of Mother Jones”

“Mother Jones: The Miners’ Angel” by Dale Fetherling

“Danger at the Breaker” by Catherine Welch

“Story of the Pullman Strike” By Conrad Stein

“Stolen Dreams: Portraits of Working Children” by David L. Parker

“Mother Jones: Fierce Fighter for Workers' Rights” by Judith P. Josephson

“STRIKE: Bitter Struggle of American Workers, Colonial Time to Present” by Penny Coleman

“Mother Jones: One Woman’s Fight for Labor” by Betsy Kraft

“What is a Union?”

“Working With Children” by Carol Saller

 

Unions that would welcome your visit

 

Communications Workers of America, Local 13571 (Commonwealth Telephone Co.)

Contact Person: Janet Lohmann

  675 2101 (work)

Meetings held on 1 st Friday of each month in Dallas

Asbestos Workers Local 38

Contact Person: Paul Johnson

(570) 270 6213

Would welcome girls to visit their office

Communications Workers of America, Local 13000 (Verizon Telephone Co.)

Contact Person, Mary Loughlin

826-4132 (work)

Meetings held once every three months in Wilkes Barre

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 163

Contact Person: Joseph Capece

(570) 823 4028

Meetings are held the second Friday of each month Wilkes Barre

Greater Wilkes Barre Labor Council

Contact Person: Sam Blanco, President

823-6716

Meetings Held 4 th Thursday of each month in Wilkes Barre

National Associations of Letter Carriers Branch 115

Contact Person: Rick Korpusik

829-4028

Meetings are held the 1 st Tuesday of each month in Wilkes Barre

 

N.E. PA. Union Retirees Alliance

Contact Person: Betty Friday: 735-4357

Meetings held 2 nd Monday of every month in Wilkes Barre

Pa State Education Association NE Region PSEA

Contact Person: Walter Glogowski

(570) 819 2556

Meetings are held the 3 rd Wednesday of each month in Wilkes Barre

United Steel Workers of America, Local 8567

Contact Person: Anne Marie Yanuzzi: 454-3277

Meetings held 2 nd Sunday of each month in Hazleton

Sheet Metal Workers Local 44

Contact Person Matthew Franchowiak

(570) 822 4781

Meetings are held the 4 th Friday of each month in Wilkes Barre

AFSCME District Council 87

Contact Person: David Antle

  (570) 961 5394

Call for meeting times

International Association of Firefighters Local 104

Contact Person: Tom Makar

(570) 208-4257

Would welcome girls to visit their office

AFSCME Local 1398

Contact Person: Fran Stein

822-1101 x289 (days), 823-0358 (evenings)

Meetings last Tuesday of Jan., March, May, July, September and November in Wilkes Barre

Laboreres Local 215

Contact Person: Max Blaskiewicz

(570) 823-7719

Meetings are held the 1 st Tuesday of each month in Hanover Twp.