All You That LaborReligion and Ethics in the Living Wage Movement

All You That LaborReligion and Ethics in the Living Wage Movement

C. Melissa Snarr

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780814741122

Publisher: NYU Press


In the early 1990s, a grassroots coalition of churches in Baltimore, Maryland helped launch what would become a national movement. Joining forces with labor and low-wage worker organizations, they passed the first municipal living wage ordinance. Since then, over one hundred and forty-four municipalities and counties as well as numerous universities and local businesses in the United States have enacted such ordinances. Although religious persons and organizations have been important both in the origins of the living wage movement and in its continuing success, they are often ignored or under analyzed. Drawing on participant observation in multiple cities, this book analyzes and evaluates the contributions of religious activists to the movement. The book explores the ways that religious organizations do this work in concert with low-wage workers, the challenges religious activists face, and how people of faith might better nurture moral agency in relation to the political economy. Ultimately, it provides clarity on how to continue to cultivate, renew, and expand religious resources dedicated to the moral agency of low-wage workers and their allies.