Living wages: a US perspective

Source: Stephanie Luce, Employee Relations, Vol. 39 Issue 6, 2017
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From the abstract:
Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to provide background on the US living wage movement, with particular attention to recent victories, and also the ways in which the US movement differs from living wage movements in other countries. It begins with some technical distinctions of terms, then analyzes the campaigns and movement for higher wages, and considers some of the challenges the campaigns have faced. It will conclude with some discussion about the future of the movement.

Design/methodology/approach
This is a general review of living wage campaigns in the USA. This is based on a review of existing literature and the author’s own prior research and participant observation.

Findings
The author argues that the initial living wage movement that began in the early 1990s was limited in scope but successful in building coalitions and political power to launch a much more expansive movement to raise wages in 2012.

Originality/value
This paper is a general summary of the last 20 years of living wage campaigns. It does not include new research.