Chapter Activities

Activity 1: Letter to the Mayor

Have students form groups of two to three. Each group should write a letter to the mayor advocating for an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15.00. Letters should discuss the struggle of minimum wage workers and provide justification for your argument.

Activity 2: Analysis of the European Union’s Working Time Directive

Show students the stipulations of the European Union’s Working Time Directives. Have them work independently to analyze each of these directives and write down ways in which they could be implemented in the United States. They should state whether they agree or disagree with any of the requirements.

Activity 3: Unemployment Insurance Research

Provide the following instructions to your students and instruct them to write down their responses to each question.

  1. Go to your state unemployment website by going to and choosing your state.
  2. Find out how you would apply for benefits, including what documentation is necessary.
  3. Thinking about your last job, do you think that you would qualify for benefits had you lost your job?
  4. For how long would you be entitled to benefits?
  5. What requirements would you have while you were in the program? This may include signing up for employment-related trainings or showing that you have applied for jobs.
  6. What resources (if any) might be available to you in searching for new employment? In obtaining new job skills?
  7. How easy or difficult was it for you to obtain this information? How easy or difficult do you think it would be to comply with these requirements? Explain your answers.

Activity 4: Minimum Wage Reflection

Instruct students to break into groups of three to four and respond to the following questions and prompts.

  1. What does framing the issue of income around the idea of “minimum wage” suggest? Why might advocates have used it?
  2. Why did more recent advocates invent the concept of “living wage”?
  3. Why might it be necessary for framing to evolve?
  4. Consider the different positions around raising minimum wage.
    1. List the benefits and risks of raising wage.
    2. How might you figure out what your position should be?
    3. Can/should social work ethics and values inform your assessment; if so, how?