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12/17/12 Tips for Teachers

December 17, 2012
Plain English Version

Right-to-Work Suddenly is the Law in Michigan

Is the article clear about what right-to-work laws are?

Right-to-work sounds like a good thing. It implies jobs for everyone. Its real goal is to break the strength of unions. It undermines the value of unions by allowing workers to obtain the benefits won by unions without having to pay dues to the union.

Should workers get the benefits without having to pay the dues? When unions get good benefits from companies doing well, everybody is happy. But as in the automobile industry, when things go bad, the workers are reluctant to give up their benefits.

Conservatives believe unions drive up the cost of doing business and discourage growth. Do you agree?

Who here belongs to a union? Are you satisfied with how the union represents you?

Why do you think membership in unions across the country is going down?

Trade unions have played an important role in raising the standard of living of workers and improving working conditions.

Do they have a future?

Undocumented Students Get Funds to Go to College

Undocumented students are always struggling for legitimacy in the community. Is that a fair statement?

Their status is uncertain. The deferral program has given many students a two-year window to remain in the United States. Still, the cost of going to college is very high and getting the funds for education is a challenge.

What has changed with the Haas Fund grant? Who gets it and for how long? Is the grant a sign that there is a shift in public opinion about undocumented residents?

Is the boot camp for high school seniors another example of progress for undocumented students?

The presidential election has shown the importance of the Hispanic vote. Are we likely to see legislation legalizing the undocumented next year?

Indonesian Workers Exploited in Malaysia

Trafficking in humans has gone on forever. Whether adults are forced to work in horrible conditions for criminal wages or children are enslaved for sex trafficking the practice continues.

Do you know of examples of forced labor from your past or present?

So-called ‘Mules’ bring people across the border. Sometimes the people are robbed, treated badly or herded into trucks for transport. Are these examples of trafficking in human beings?

What can be done? A great deal of money is being made.

Are governments doing enough? What does the story say about the role of governments?

Does a country do human exploitation to its own citizens, or is it usually done to poor people from another country as in this story?

Beware of Gift Card Scams

The holiday season always brings reports about the importance of consumer alertness.

What are the dangers of gift cards pointed out in this story? Are you more or less likely to purchase a gift card after reading it?

What experiences have you had in using gift cards?

Seeing gift cards for sale in drug stores and other convenience stores, can you think of a better last minute gift?

The story talks about the theft of gift card numbers and the lax security in matching the cards to the person who bought them and the person who used them. Does is sound like gift cards ought to be used and protected as if they were cash?

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