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The academic literature on union-community engagement - labor activity often called social unionism - has grown steadily since about 1980, an expansion paralleling a similar evolution in union practices. This paper examines one manifestation of social unionism in western New York: the labor-led Economic Development Group (EDG), which emerged in the late-1990s as a way for that region's union leaders to jointly engage in regional economic development activities. A number of EDG projects appear to be on the leading edge of innovation with respect to regional development; thus, the case of the EDG warrants the attention of academics and practitioners, including policymakers interested in improving the wellbeing of the nation's working families.
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