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All You That LaborReligion and Ethics in the Living Wage Movement$
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C. Melissa Snarr

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814741122

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741122.001.0001

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U.S. Poverties and Religious Resources

U.S. Poverties and Religious Resources

Movement Context

(p.17) 1 U.S. Poverties and Religious Resources
All You That Labor

C. Melissa Snarr

NYU Press

This chapter studies the emergence of the contemporary living wage movement in the United States. By conscious political choice, U.S. politicians decided to undermine the original intent of the minimum wage by refusing to raise it adequately over the last half-century. Despite increased worker productivity, the minimum wage remains far below what is necessary for a small family in this country. The increase in working poverty thus signals both the economic and political poverty of low-wage workers. Religious organizations join coalitions for a living wage precisely to counter these intertwined poverties. The reemergence of progressive religious activism and the rebirth of religion–labor–community coalitions for living wages have been mutually reinforcing. The chapter shows how religious activists seek to enhance the economic political agency of low-wage workers and put poverty back on the national agenda.

Keywords:   contemporary living wage, minimum wage, poverty, low-wage workers, religious organizations, religious activism

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