Political Mediation and American Old-Age Security Exceptionalism
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Work and Occupations
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Debates over America’s heavy reliance on employer-provided private pensions have understated the profound role organized labor played after World War II. Archival evidence from prominent unions and business associations suggests that the shift in organized labor’s strategy after the New Deal toward electoral activity helps explain critical interventions by Northern Democrats into the system of private pensioning in the postwar period that laid the foundation for America’s old-age security system. Such a strategy was insufficient, however, to expand Social Security. This article offers a political mediation account of electoral activity as a source of labor influence on social policy that draws on political institutionalist and class power theories.