The fascinating inside story of how a few labor unions, faith leaders, immigrants and community groups united to build a grass roots citizens movement that won the nation’s first $15 minimum wage…”

—Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer prize-winning former New York Times reporter and editor; author, “Who Stole the American Dream”

Beyond $15

Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the revival of the Labor movement

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The 2016 election and its aftermath, from Bernie Sanders' remarkable insurgency, to Donald Trump's brutal and ugly win, shocked the political world and laid bare the deep alienation and pain felt by the working people. COVID has doubled down on that alienation. Billionaire wealth has soared as working people have struggled to get by. In this New Gilded Age of profound economic inequality, brazen racism, and growing embrace of the far right and even fascism, movements for social and economic justice face a profound existential crisis.

Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement offers a blunt recitation of how missteps and narrow thinking by labor unions contributed to our current predicament. Yet Beyond $15 also shows how the makings of a powerful justice movement are embedded within today's struggles.

With captivating narrative and insightful commentary, labor organizer Jonathan Rosenblum reveals the inside story of the first successful fight for $15 that has 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. Beyond $15 provides provides and inspirational blueprint for a powerful, all-inclusive Labor movement and a call for workers to reclaim their power in the new economy.

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“Jonathan Rosenblum delivers not only an impressive analytical presentation but also one inspiring people to see labor struggles as about far more than just wages and benefits. It is about workers attaining dignity and respect, as well as finding their own voice through action.”

Elaine Bernard, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Labor and Worklife Program, Harvard Law School

Other Writings

Rosenblum Self

About the Author

With 34 years of leadership in union and community organizing, Jonathan Rosenblum is nationally-recognized for his work in breakthrough campaigns. From 2001-2014, Jonathan was campaign director of the first $15 fight in the country, the historic SeaTac Airport Workers Campaign. Prior to Seatac, he led Healthcare organizing campaigns, coordinated multi-union drives in the Seattle area, and was founding oganizer of Washington State Jobs with Justice, a labor, faith, student and community coalition organized to fight for the rights of all working people. Jonathan played a key role in the historic 2015 re-election of Socialist Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant. He also has servedin leadership positions in multi-faith coalitions, and is a leader in Kadima (Jewish) Reconstructionist Community in Seattle.

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Published by Beacon Press

Edited by Joanna Green

Represented by Diana Finch

Website by Gridwork