Geography in the living wage debate
Tucker, Maria A.
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The living wage movement has been apart of United States’ history since 1906 when the concept was first introduced by a Catholic priest named John A. Ryan. From that time onward, the term has been used by proponents and opponents alike to frame arguments about wages, workers, and employer responsibilities. In its simplest form, a living wage is one which “allows full-time workers to support themselves and their family above the poverty level.” This thesis explores the “living wage” and its implications in two parts. The first section argues that the discourse used in the living wage debate throughout the United States is bound up in the political construction of scale in order to justify, or not, wage increases for low-income workers. The second section of this thesis explores this argument as it is unfolding in Athens, Georgia -a community currently lobbying for the passage of a living wage law.