Date of Paper

3-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Karen Carlson

Abstract

Minnesota’s minimum wage provides insufficient income for full-time adult employees to meet their needs and the needs of their dependent children. The social work profession, and individual social workers, should be aware of and involved in the current social justice issue of raising the minimum wage to a more realistic (livable) wage. This research paper examines the potential impacts of raising the minimum wage, current opinions of American society regarding livable wages, and the extent to which Minnesota social workers have knowledge of and are involved in the livable wage movement. Results of a survey taken by Minnesota’s licensed social workers reveal a significant portion of social workers have never heard or read about the livable wage movement, and a remarkably low percentage of social workers are not involved in the movement; however, the social workers were generally interested in the issue and most social workers believed it was a very important issue. The data indicates that additional research is needed to investigate the reasons behind the lack of awareness and effort by social workers to remedy this social injustice. The study demonstrates the need for individual social workers to engage themselves in more mezzo and macro practice; organizations that exist to uphold the mission of social work (such as the Minnesota Association of Social Work and the National Association of Social Workers) must implement practices and policies that will enable the profession of social work to fulfill its mission for social justice.

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