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Rising Up: The Fight for Living Wage Work in Canada

Edited by Bryan Evans, Carlo Fanelli, and Tom McDowell

UBC Press

Canada has one of the highest rates of low-wage work among advanced industrial economies. In a labour market characterized by the ongoing fallout from COVID-19, deepening income inequality, increasingly uncertain job tenure, and steadily diluted union representation, the living wage movement offers a response.

Rising Up traces the history and international context of living wage movements across Canada. Contributors to this astute and compassionate collection of essays examine union- and community-based approaches to organizing in marginalized communities, the role of social reproduction, migrant labour, and media (mis)representations, among other key topics. In the 1970s, the balance of political and economic power began to shift in favour of business, as trade unions weakened and governments proved unwilling to check corporate power. By the 2000s, austerity measures had dismantled social services spending, facilitating the growth of precarious, often gendered or racialized low-waged employment. Rapidly increasing wealth and income inequality has followed in the wake of these deteriorating labour market conditions and mounting social disparities.As more and more workers in Canada and elsewhere face permanent low-paid work, Rising Up will stimulate debate about living wages and social inequality, promoting alternatives to a neoliberalized labour market.

This book will appeal to students and scholars of public policy, labour studies, social work, community studies, political economy, and sociology. It will also be valuable reading for policy and government researchers, union and community-based workers, and readers wanting to inform themselves about the Canadian context for income disparity and labour market conditions.

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