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date: 24 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the ways that labor unions seek to curtail poverty by systematizing the available evidence both by geography and according to whether the research focuses on indirect or direct linkages between organized labor and poverty. Lobbying the government to maintain funding for an antipoverty program such as food stamps represents an indirect effect of unions on poverty. Fighting to expand health insurance coverage for the elderly and raising the minimum wage are other indirect pathways that unions have undertaken on behalf of the poor. This article first considers the influences of unions on poverty in the United States, advanced industrialized democracies, and developing countries before discussing the specific mechanisms that link unionization rates with levels of economic disadvantage.

Keywords: labor unions, poverty, organized labor, food stamps, health insurance, minimum wage, United States, developing countries, unionization, economic disadvantage

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