Lesson Title: The ufw vs a Traditional Union Grade Level

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Lesson Title:

The UFW vs. a Traditional Union

Grade Level:

Grade Eight Lesson 3

Unit of Study:

The Rise of Industrial America: 1877-1914

History-Social Science Standard:

8.12.6 Discuss child labor, working conditions, and laissez-faire policies toward big business and examine the labor movement, including its leaders (e.g., Samuel Gompers), its demand for collective bargaining, and its strikes and protests over labor conditions.

Correlation to K-8 California Adopted Textbooks:

Houghton Mifflin. A More Perfect Union. Unit 6: A Time of Transformation. Chapter 15: Industry and Workers.

Glencoe McGraw-Hill: The American Journey. Chapter 19: The Growth of Industry.
Setting the Context:

Traditional unions became a force during the late 1800s. The establishment of the UFW can be seen as an extension of traditional union in the twentieth century.

Focus Question:

What is a traditional union?

Is the UFW a traditional union?
Expected Learning Outcomes:

Students will create a Venn diagram collage comparing unions in the 1800s to the UFW of the 1900s.


Success will be measured by the accuracy of the pictures that the students use to portray their understanding of the material. Learning will be demonstrated through the writing of an expository paragraph. Students can be measured according to their accuracy on the Venn diagram and their expository paragraph.

Key Concepts:

labor union

Essential Vocabulary:

unions (traditional and industrial unions, along with vocabulary that accompanies these subjects)

scabs - depending on reading

AWOC - depending on reading

Credit Union - depending on reading

fast - depending on reading

Primary Sources:

Chávez, César. Oral interview: “We’re Somewhere Between a Movement and an Industrial Union” September 25, 1965; Delano, California (the César E. Chávez Web site sponsored by San Francisco State University).

Statement By César Chávez On The Conclusion of A 25-Day Fast For Nonviolence (the César E. Chávez Web site sponsored by San Francisco State University).
“United Farm Workers Achievements Under César Chávez.” (the César E. Chávez Web site sponsored by the UFW).
Chávez, César. “Prayer of the Farm Workers’ Struggle.” Copyright César E. Chávez Foundation

Picture of UFW Banner.

Political Cartoon of radical UFW (the César E. Chávez Web site sponsored by San Francisco State University).

Banners of other unions can be used, including local teachers’ union.



Have students create a semantic map of what they believe a union is. Then display “Prayer of the Farm Workers’ Struggle” by César E. Chávez. Ask students if the prayer they just read can be understood within the context of a union. Explain to students that Chávez did start a union, but in many ways it was more than that. Continue with lesson.

Making Connections:

Students need to be aware of the role that unions have and continue to play in our society. They should be familiar with the Knights of Labor and the early American Federation of Labor.

Students also need to know the basic background of the UFW and their pursuit for better opportunities for migrant farm workers.
Vocabulary Activities:

The collage activity will help reinforce the essential vocabulary of union and UFW.

Guided Instruction:

  1. Start with the motivation activity.

  1. Students will now create a Venn diagram collage. Students will need construction paper, magazines, scissors, and glue. They can work individually or in small groups.

  1. On one side of the union, write traditional unions; on the other side, write UFW.

  1. Students are to use textbooks to get information on a traditional union. The source material for the UFW can be one or a combination of the following:

“We’re Somewhere Between a Movement and an Industrial Union”

“Statement by César Chávez at the Conclusion of 25-Day Fast for Nonviolence”
United Farm Workers’ Achievements under César Chávez.”
(The “Prayer of the Farm Workers’ Struggle” can also be used.)

  1. The students can use all of the sources, but it may be better to distribute the sources according to reading ability. The “somewhere between a movement” statement is difficult reading that requires inference, whereas the “achievements” are considerably more straightforward. As a result, the sources can be used to help with differentiated instruction.

  1. After students have completed their collage, they can be asked to write a short paragraph using their Venn diagram collage.

  1. The following expository frame can be used to help students that are not used to writing a comparison/contrast paragraph:

______________________ and ___________________ are similar in several ways. First, ________________. In addition, __________________. Finally, ______________________________.

________________and ___________________ are different in several ways. First, __________________, while____________________. Secondly, ______________________, but _________________. In conclusion, _________________, while _______________________.

  1. Students can then be asked to share their expository paragraphs.

Integrating Language:

Reading skills will be used. Differentiated reading levels can be used with the primary sources that are available.

Writing skills will be strengthened with the required writing of an expository paragraph. An expository frame can be used to help with differentiated writing levels.

Students can access the middle level biography of César E. Chávez at CDE Web site.

UFW and other union Web sites can also be helpful.

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