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

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Rosenblum Self

About the Author

Jonathan Rosenblum is an organizer and writer with 40 years of leadership in grassroots union and community work in the US and Canada. After leading the historic 2013 SeaTac Airport workers campaign – the first successful Fight for $15 campaign that helped spark the national movement – he wrote the book, Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement (Beacon Press, 2017). Jonathan has worked closely over the last 10 years with socialist Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, helping organize movements to win the first $15 minimum wage in a major US city; breakthrough renters’ rights legislation; and the historic tax on Amazon and other big businesses to fund affordable housing and Green New Deal projects in Seattle. Jonathan consults frequently with unions and political groups in the US and Canada on major organizing campaigns, strikes, and electoral fights to build power for working people.

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Published by Beacon Press

Edited by Joanna Green

Represented by Diana Finch

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