However, income policies also present challenges for social workers. Where it may appear natural to advocate for more resources for those most in need, like lobbying government bodies or petitioning charitable organizations, it is less clear how to engage the private sector. What claim do social workers have, as a profession, for income justice among those most concerned with market competition and the profit margin? While this tension parallels labor's demands for curbing unrestrained, downward pressure on wages, it also belies simple characterization of mutual interests. Social workers face competing demands as advocates for social justice who rely on public sector funding, coupled with the requirement to create and maintain public and private partnerships. The papers gathered here problematize aspects of this tension.
By re-centering advocacy, all three articles in this symposium place social work professionals directly within the arena of income policies. Paper one argues that basic income, the idea that everyone receives a baseline, non-means tested level of income without a work requirement, wholly aligns with social work ethics and values. Implementing such a policy ensures individual freedom, a leading tenet of social work's ethics. Paper two, prompted by the recent uptick in local and state minimum wage rates, suggests that social work scholarship has not kept up with social work activism on raising the minimum wage, and invites a resurgence in academic interest in this arena. Paper three takes a deeper look at claims-making on the minimum wage, from both the social work perspective and beyond. By deconstructing claims, messages appealing to certain sensibilities appear to increase the likelihood of swaying influential decision-makers.