All You That Labor
Religion and Ethics in the Living Wage Movement
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
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A book requiring fieldwork and dialogue across disciplines greatly expands the number of people to whom I am indebted. Insights that contributed to a word, a sentence, or an entire section of the book sometimes came from a conversation in the hallway, a late night beverage, or a quick email. In other words, many thanks to all those who were interested...
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At a southern university rally for living wages in 2005, a middleaged African American woman rose to introduce herself and speak to the crowd. Standing there in her uniform, she stated her name and job title (custodian), then paused before saying slowly and deliberately, “Everyone keeps telling me not to speak today. They say I’ll lose my job...
1. U.S. Poverties and Religious Resources: Movement Context
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Through an African rhythm, an oppressor’s folly, and justice’s triumph, a new version of a familiar spiritual declares the presence of a growing social movement. This recent adaptation of “Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep,” while echoing old labor hymns, has several novel features that reflect the living wage movement...
2. Living Wages: Religious Ideology and Framing for Moral Agency
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In a small classroom on the campus of North Park Seminary in Chicago, three leaders from the National Council of Churches’ (NCC) Let Justice Roll campaign gathered with a student activist from the University of Notre Dame and a local Chicago alderman to train other activists on building successful living wage campaigns. While handouts and...
3. “I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me”: Bridge Building and Political Engagement in Racialized Economies
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Leaders of the Mississippi Poultry Workers for Equality and Respect knew they had to overcome significant racial and ethnic barriers if they were to challenge the power of the poultry plant owners. Yet the plant owners had to be challenged. Conditions in the plants were atrocious— sweltering temperatures, a toxic environment—and the work...
4. “Your Daughters Will Prophesy”: Women’s Labor in the Movement
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The idea for the Atlanta living wage campaign came in the form of a fax. A director at the Atlanta Women’s Foundation had just finished reading an article in a business magazine, “What’s Wrong with Living Wages.” A few minutes later, she faxed Cindia Cameron, the Atlantabased national organizing director of Working Women 9to5. Across the...
5. “Where Two or Three Are Gathered”: Ritualizing Moral Agency
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Memphis, Tennessee, is best known for blues, barbeque, and Elvis. But among religious activists, it is also known for fasting. As part of the efforts of Workers’ Interfaith Network (WIN) to enact citywide living wage legislation in 2006—efforts that were successful—and subsequently to expand the ordinance’s reach, forty-hour fasts have become...
6. Conclusion: “Come, Walk with Us, the Journey is Long”
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At the IWJ national conference in 2007, one of the first tasks of the opening plenary was learning a song. IWJ’s energetic, music-loving, executive director Kim Bobo usually chooses a song for every national conference and leads the assembled activists in its initial singing. Gathered in the large multifunctional performing arts/meeting space, hundreds...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2011