Why every American should have the right to a job at a living wage
Ending Poverty as We Know It
Guaranteeing a Right to a Job at a Living Wage
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William P. Quigley
Q&A with William Quigley, 2003
"Bill Quigley draws on the common sense of Thomas Paine, the moral inspiration of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the political wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to issue a bold challenge for our society: to guarantee people who want to work the right to a job at a living wage. In a brave and witty book that is both visionary and practical, Quigley reminds us that if once radical ideas like social security and the abolition of slavery can become realities, then the current partnership between poverty and work can be upended too."
Lani Guinier, Professor of Law and co-author of The Miner's Canary
Across the United States tens of millions of people are working forty or more hours a week...and living in poverty. This is surprising in a country where politicians promise that anyone who does their share, and works hard, will get ahead. In Ending Poverty As We Know It, William Quigley argues that it is time to make good on that promise by adding to the Constitution language that insures those who want to work can do soand at a wage that enables them to afford reasonable shelter, clothing, and food.
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Read Chapter 1 (pdf).
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"Bill Quigley's book makes us believe that America can really change for the better and provide a decent job and a fair wage to hard-working families. This is a very important book. Bill brings a lifetime of knowledge and commitment to this; and he really shows us, step by step, how it can be done."
Sister Helen Prejean, social activist and author of Dead Man Walking
"Quigley, an active public interest lawyer and law professor, makes a good case for a constitutional amendment that requires a living wage job for everyone. ...a timely and interesting topic that makes for good reading. Highly recommended."
"While it will not solve America's poverty crisis, Quigley's book stands as a call to arms to the American public to act, to think, and to consider his proposal not just for the sake of charity, but for the sake of the country."
Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law
"[T]imely and significant.... [Quigley] proceeds to make a strong case..."
Labor Studies Journal
"You should check it out, even if you're too busy trying to make ends meet. The book is full of facts kept safely away from the consciousness of the voting public."
Sean Gonsalves, Cape Cod Times
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Bill Quigley was guest
columnist on The Jurist, an online law journal published by the
University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
Part I: Introduction
1. Why a Right to a Job at a Living Wage?
Part II: Reeducating Ourselves about What It Means to Be Poor
2. Myths and Facts about Poverty and Work
3. Our History Shapes Our Thinking
4. Current Official Definition of Poverty
5. A New Definition of Poverty
Part III: Poverty and Lack of Work
6. The Extent of Unemployment and Underemployment
7. The Cost of Unemployment and Underemployment
Part IV: Work and Poverty
8. The Working Poor
9. Low-Wage Work
Part V: A Constitutional Right to a Job at a Living Wage
10. A Constitutional Amendment
11. Support for a Right to a Job
12. Support for a Right to Living Wages
13. How Might a Constitutional Amendment Work?
14. The Way to End Poverty as We Know It
Suggested Web Resources for Further Reading
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About the Author(s)
William P. Quigley is the Janet Mary Riley Distinguished Professor of Law and Director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University, New Orleans. He has been an active public interest lawyer for over 20 years, and served as counsel for a wide range of public interest organizations on issues including public housing, voting rights, death penalty, living wage, civil liberties, civil disobedience, educational reform and constitutional rights. Quigley has litigated numerous cases with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc., and served as General Counsel for the ACLU of Louisiana for 15 years. He has served as Chair of the Louisiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and with many other local, state, and national legal and civil rights organizations. He has been counsel for ACORN and other community groups in the effort to enact a one dollar an hour raise in the minimum wage for every worker in New Orleans.
Labor Studies and Work
Political Science and Public Policy
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