Member-produced labor curricula available to educators

The Labor and Climate Justice Education Committee has produced curricula for students at all levels of education, from preschool coloring books to college and university readings, to union-based new member orientation programs. Here you will find some of our most popular and enduring lessons and materials.  

The committee aims to help teachers reach students with information about the history and current place of the labor movement in American democracy. Committee members are classroom teachers, classified employees, and faculty from community college and university labor studies programs. 


Elementary Curricula

FarmWorker Comix
To honor the 50th anniversary of the Delano Grape Strike, which resulted in the founding of the United Farm Workers, the committee produced this comic book history. Written by elementary teacher Bill Morgan, and beautifully illustrated by Zap Comix artist Spain Rodriguez and Jos Sances, the bilingual booklet traces workers’ struggle for dignity in California’s fields from the 19th century through the UFW. 4th grade and up. 28 pages. Spanish/English. $3

Mission Labor
The real story about what happened in the California missions under Spanish and Mexican rule. Who built the missions? How were the workers treated? What was the impact of this type of work on the California Indian population?  Written by veteran elementary teacher Bill Morgan, with beautiful illustrations by award-winning artist Jos Sances. Fourth and fifth grade. 24 pages. Spanish/English. $3

Let Me Tell You About This Man: Cesar Chavez, Union Organizer
A biography of the most successful farm labor organizer in American history, the man who built the first farm workers union that lasted. An icon for Latinos and unionists alike, Chavez created a movement based in the principles of union organizing and non-violent civil disobedience. For fourth and fifth grade. 24 pages. Spanish/English. $3

I, Tomato
A booklet for fourth graders, chronicling the life of a tomato—from the point of view of the tomato, with an emphasis on its interactions with workers who nurture it from seed to your table. Gives children a sense of the work that goes into food production and distribution. Includes study questions. 24 pages. Spanish/English. $3

The Yummy Pizza Company: A Labor Studies Curriculum for Elementary Schools
Ten lesson plans for elementary students (grades 1-5) introducing them to the world of work in a pizza factory simulation. Students learn how to apply for jobs, to work cooperatively on an assembly line, to retail their wares, to bank their earnings and—most importantly—to resolve conflicts through organization and negotiation. Available with student handouts in Spanish. 30 pages. $3 Common core standards correlations

The Yummy Strawberry Company
Substitute for The Yummy Pizza Company if you don’t have access to cooking facilities. Same basic idea, but rearranged for simpler cooking. For elementary students (grades 1-5) introducing them to the world of work in a chocolate dipped strawberry company simulation. Students apply for jobs, work cooperatively on an assembly line, retail their wares, bank their earnings and participate in collective bargaining. 30 pages. $3

Trouble in the Hen House: A Puppet Show

Flexible elementary curriculum based on a play and puppet show about hens organizing against a mean farmer. Read as a story to K-1 students; grades 2-3 children can stage the puppet show; grades 4-5, use in a ‘readers theater’ format or students can stage play for a younger group. Students can make puppets and learn about the potential for power in collective action. 20 pages. $3

Along the Shore

A coloring book for grades K-3 presents scenes from the lives of working people, focusing especially on longshore workers, but including many others, and simply but effectively showing the importance of unions in workers’ lives. Excellent for geography lessons as well. 24 pages. Spanish/English. $3


A full-color comic book history of the United Automobile Workers, one of the most important industrial unions of the mid-20th century, and central to the creation of the American Dream for millions of workers over several generations. Written by Bill Morgan and illustrated by Bill Yund, Suitable for middle school and up. 28 pages. $3


High School & up

Golden Lands, Working Hands
This powerful ten-part video series brings the hidden history of working people to light. Golden Lands, Working Hands documents the events and issues central to California labor history, from the Gold Rush through the present. The award-winning series has been seen on public television and in museum exhibits, in high school and college classrooms and in union halls.  Three hours total on two DVDs, with CD of lesson plans, student activities, readings and handouts. $20 videos only; $25 with CD. Order hereCommon core standards correlations

Collective Bargaining Education Project
In the morning, when the students arrive, they know little or nothing about unions and collective bargaining. At the end of the day, they can tell you what the union is—and they like the idea. Based on the popular education techniques of Paolo Freire, the CBEP provides a range of labor history and contemporary union organizing and collective bargaining role plays for the high school classroom. CBEP can also organize a one-day Institute for 100 students, as well as teacher inservices. To order the entire role play curriculum, Workplace Issues and Collective Bargaining in the Classroom (w/ video $10) or for more info, call  626-233-2284. (pdfCommon core standards correlations

Safe Jobs for Youth 
Most teens don’t know their rights and protections on the job, or how they can work together to make change in the workplace. Teaching curricula, fact sheets about labor laws for youth and parents, and resources are available at Youth can get involved in leadership academies, the teen ‘safe workplace’ poster contest, and our annual Safe Jobs for Youth Month campaign. Coordinated by U.C. Berkeley’s Labor Occupational Health Program. Call 510-643-2424 for more info.

Work, Money and Power: Unions in the 21st Century
NEW! Revised 2013 edition of the classic “Union 101″ pamphlet explaining what unions are and do, including an overview of labor history and compelling evidence for the continuing importance of unions in workers’ lives. High school and up. 24 pages. 1 to 50 copies, $1.50 each; 51 or more copies, $1.25 each. Order at 510-643-7089 or click here for more info and to order online. (pdf, 28pp)Chinese version (pdf)



California Labor History Map
A large full color wall poster (44 x 33 inches) map of California with the locations and brief explanations of more than 250 key labor history events. Perfect for union hall or classroom wall. $5


Golden Lands, Working Hands
Landmark CFT video series introduces the labor movement

Golden Lands, Working Hands, a ten-part, three-hour video series, introduces students, union members and the general public to California labor history in order to encourage understanding of the state’s diverse working populations and their efforts to find common ground in struggles for social justice. It is meant to be shown one part at a time in conjunction with reading materials and lesson plans suitable for high school students, and for union members in new member programs.