Home of the American Labor Studies Center
The American Labor Merit Badge was established by the Boy Scouts of America in 1987 and the requirements for the badge are listed below. The American Labor Studies Center has reviewed the requirements and we find them to be reasonable and appropriate.
Scouts who obtain the badge should learn much about the labor movement and its many contributions to the improvement and well being of our country.
Teachers who review the requirements will see where some of the activities could be incorporated into their lessons and classroom protocol.
Unions may want to follow the lead of UAW Region 9 and offer assistance to scouts who are actively pursing the badge – as pictured on our web page. In addition, they should encourage their members to become identified counselors for scouts who are working to achieve the badge.
Do ONE of the following:
(a) Develop a time line of significant history of the American labor movement from the 1770′s to today.
(b) Prepare an exhibit or a scrapbook illustrating three major achievements of the American labor movement.
(c) In 500 words or more, write about one of the founders of organized labor in the United States.
(d) In 500 words or more, write how the work force fits into the economic system of the United States.
Check with some news sources where you live – public library, federal, state, county, or municipal employment office, labor union office – for information about working people and their concerns. Discuss your findings with your counselor.
Discuss with your counselor how you would lead a discussion on the subject of worker concerns about job-related issues. Issues should be related to the workplace (safety, job assignments, seniority, wages, child care, etc.).
With help from your counselor, prepare an exhibit or a scrapbook illustrating ONE of the following: (a) Issues that concern American workers (b) Federal and state labor laws showing how these laws affect American workers (c) Current issues you have learned about from a national union or employee group.
Visit the office or attend a meeting of a local union, an AFL-CIO labor council, or an independent employee organization. Talk with some people there and find out what the organization does. Draw a diagram of the organizational structure of the association you visited from the local to the national level, if applicable.
Be prepared to define and discuss some of the key terms used in labor relations.
With help from your counselor, determine some of the basic rights and responsibilities that members of unions, employee organizations, and those not belonging to a collective association have.
With help from your counselor, chart a comparison of wages, benefits, and working conditions in a union shop and a nonunion shop in the same industry.
Discuss why it is important to maintain good relationships among business, labor, and government. Describe to your Counselor what can happen when these relationships get out of balance.
Discuss with your counselor the different goals that may exist with the owners of a business, its stockholders, its customers, its employees, the employees’ representatives, the community, and public officials.
Explain why agreements and compromises are made and how they affect each group in attaining its goals.
“Imagine opening a high school U.S. history textbook and finding no mention of —or at most a passing sentence about—Valley Forge, the Missouri Compromise, or the League of Nations…” Continue reading
Resources for teachers who have a limited amount of time to incorporate labor history into their classrooms.
Traces the history of the labor movement from its beginnings to the late 20th century.
A lesson guide for teachers to accompany "A Short History of American Labor"
A description and order information for two excellent labor history films to supplement "A Short History of American Labor" - If You Don't Come in on Sunday, Don't Come in on Monday and The Inheritance
Home of the American Labor Studies Center
A standards-based curriculum for teachers for grades 5-12 by the 9/11 Tribute Center at the World Trade Center.