Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement (Paperback)
The inside story of the first successful $15 minimum wage campaign that renewed a national labor movement
With captivating narrative and insightful commentary, labor organizer Jonathan Rosenblum reveals the inside story of the first successful fight for a $15 minimum wage, which renewed a national labor movement through bold strategy and broad inclusiveness. Just outside Seattle, an unlikely alliance of Sea-Tac Airport workers, union and community activists, and clergy staged face-to-face confrontations with corporate leaders to unite a diverse, largely immigrant workforce in a struggle over power between airport workers and business and political elites. Digging deep into the root causes of poverty wages, Rosenblum gives a blunt assessment of the daunting problems facing unions today. Beyond $15 provides an inspirational blueprint for a powerful, all-inclusive labor movement and is a call for workers to reclaim their power in the new economy.
About the Author
Jonathan Rosenblum has been a labor organizer for more than thirty years, playing key roles including Sea-Tac Airport campaign director. His writing has been featured in Tikkun, In These Times, and Yes! Magazine. He lives in Seattle, WA.
“An inspiring model for coalition building.”
“Readers interested in labor activism, history, economics, industrial relations, or immigration studies will find this book to be compelling and captivating, as Rosenblum captures the story of this unifying, important, and successful fight for economic equity.”
“A feisty, provocative book...His analysis of the problems facing labor is insightful and sound.”
—Tom Deignan, America Magazine
“Beyond $15 is both a timely history of a bold campaign’s unlikely victory and an inspiring call for a flexible, progressive and power-building vision of labor organizing.”
—Jonathan Timm, In These Times
“The fascinating inside story of how a few labor unions, faith leaders, and immigrant and community groups united to build a grassroots citizens movement that won the nation’s first $15 minimum wage in SeaTac, Washington. From that victory for community power, Rosenblum makes the important case that US labor unions must reinvent themselves as catalysts for a broader social justice movement to challenge the inequality of power in America today, building on the populist revolution awakened by Bernie Sanders.”
—Hedrick Smith, author of Who Stole the American Dream?
“Part memoir, part industry analysis, part campaign summation...Beyond $15 is exciting, thought-provoking, and moving as it looks not only at the big picture but also at the struggles of the workers themselves to alter the terms of their working lives and their places in the community.”
—Bill Fletcher, Jr., coauthor of Solidarity Divided
“A compelling and vital read for any social justice activist. In the vivid detail of a committed participant in the struggle, Rosenblum tells how ordinary airport workers took on the corporate powers and both Democratic and Republican Party elites and won.”
—Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council member, Socialist Alternative
“Jonathan Rosenblum’s Beyond $15 is an excellent choice for teaching about contemporary worker struggles against economic inequality. My students were captivated by Rosenblum’s firsthand account of the untold story of the SeaTac minimum wage campaign. The book opens up much broader discussions with its careful analysis of the causes and human impact of deteriorating US working conditions over the past four decades. Beyond $15 also teaches important lessons on the practical challenges of building coalitions across lines of identity and the importance of giving workers voice in organized campaigns.”
—George Lovell, Harry Bridges Endowed Chair in Labor Studies and professor and chair of Political Science, University of Washington
“Developing strong labor, faith and community partnerships to engage in campaigns that uplift working people is vital for today’s labor movement. Jonathan Rosenblum’s Beyond $15 about the coalition that won a $15 minimum wage in Sea-Tac, Washington, shows union leaders and activists how this can be done, and how victory can be won, even in the most daunting circumstances.”
—Henry Garrido, Executive Director, District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
“For thirty-three years, Jonathan Rosenblum has been sharing his winning analysis, history of struggle, and strategy with ordinary workers. In Beyond $15, he invites all of us into the learning. With stunning simplicity and clarity, Rosenblum walks the reader through exactly how giant corporations have decimated the American Dream. Better still, he explains what it will take to get out of our current mess and rebuild the power we need to defeat out of control corporate power.”
—Jane McAlevey, organizer and author of No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age