How to interest children in labor history

2015 Kohler Strike, Thanksgiving Week

It is no secret that labor history is rarely taught to Wisconsin’s school children. Thus, it occurs that many young people enter their working years with little appreciation of the value of labor unions, making any efforts to organize difficult.

With the start of the school year, the Wisconsin Labor History Society offers two ways in which to interest children in the topic:

Labor History Essay Contest. Open to all Wisconsin high school students. Write an essay of approximately 750 words on the topic: “Unions have been important to my family and community because . . .” Prizes for winning essays range from $100 to $500.

National History Day. Open to all middle school and high school students. This national contest offers student an opportunity to compete by creating various types of project highlighting history, including poster exhibits, websites, video productions, essays, performances and others. The 2019-2020 school year theme is “Breaking Barriers in History,” an ideal topic for those interested in creating projects in labor history. The WLHS is planning on offering cash prizes for those students who create projects with a labor history theme. (Those plans will be announced soon.)

Unionists are urged to encourage their children, grandchildren or other youth to participate in these competitions as a way to introduce them to labor history topics.