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May Day (International Workers’ Day)
What do labor rights, gender equality, anti-racism, and wealth inequality all have in common? EVERYTHING.
When is it?
- May 1st
- Learn the history behind May Day in the US [0:58 video, best for kids 6+]
Connecting labor rights & children’s rights
- What does it mean to have fair and safe working conditions?
- What do we need to work safely?
- How does the meaning of ‘safe‘ and ‘fair‘ work differ depending on our individual ages, skills, and abilities?
- Why is it important to know the human costs (time, energy, health, risks), and not just the dollar price of the goods (things we buy) and the services (help) we pay for?
- Read the tags on your favorite jacket or shoes – where was it made?
- What laws and rules are in place in this location to protect kids from unsafe working conditions?
Discuss: Connecting labor rights & wealth inequality
- What is compensation? What does it mean when compensation is fair, or inadequate?
- Pick an item in your house. Using the internet, can you find out if the people who made it were compensated fairly? How easy is it to find this out?
- Do the people who care for us (including at home, at school, and those who clean our streets and build our homes) receive fair compensation?
- Do they make enough to eat? Enough for housing? Enough to care for a family? Enough to pay for healthcare?
- What do you think happens to people if they work all day, but still can’t afford these things?
Action: Do you employ a domestic care worker?
- Find out how you can support care workers, nannies, and house cleaners with the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
Connecting labor rights, power dynamics, and transparency
- Whose responsibility is it to create fair and safe working conditions?
- What responsibility do the workers have to make work safe?
- How about the people who run the company and keep the money the workers make?
- How about the people who buy what the company makes?
- What are negotiations?
- What does it mean to be a stakeholder in a system? (Such as in a company, a family, or a school.)
- What is a consumer? A worker? An owner? An investor? A government?
- What kind of (and how much) power does each type of person have negotiating working conditions with the others?
- Discuss the roles and responsibilities of each to create safe working conditions and compensation.
- Pick a family item you purchase often. How could you source this more sustainably and fairly?
Connecting labor rights & women’s rights
- What is domestic work?
(Ex: childcare, cleaning, planning, paying bills, running errands, laundry.)
- What is care work?
(Ex: noticing who needs what, bathing, planning meals and schedules, soothing meltdowns.)
- Who is usually responsible for unpaid domestic & care work in US families?
(Hint: women, most often women of color)
- Who does which types of work in our family? Are they paid or unpaid? In what other ways are they compensated?
- What is an industry? (Ex: a type of job)
- How do people with power and money value domestic labor compared to industries such as engineering, construction, and banking? Use the internet to find standard rates of pay, and/or ask adults how much they think an hour of that type of labor is worth.
- What differences in compensation do we notice depending on industries?
- How does average compensation differ depending on who tends to work in an industry?
(Ex: workers of a common gender, citizenship status, disability, or access to higher education.)
- Why are different types of paying jobs easier, or harder to get for people who have extra care work for family at home?
- How did the way we value and compensate workers change as industries changed from a mostly-men to mostly-women industry? What about the reverse?
(Example: Teaching, midwifery and obstetrics)