Synopses & Reviews
The inside story of the first successful $15 minimum wage campaign that renewed a national labor movement.
SeaTac, Washington a small city built around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport gained national recognition as the first successful $15 minimum wage battleground. But what most people don t know is that the SeaTac fight didn't begin with wages. The campaign emerged from an unlikely coalition that first united over the right of Muslim airport workers to pray.
When unions stood in solidarity with Somali immigrants in a conflict with their employer over prayer breaks, something remarkable happened. From this skirmish a powerful coalition of immigrant workers, clergy, and unions emerged to force a dramatic showdown with the airlines and political establishment. At stake was not just money but justice: whether the airport economy would serve the needs of everyone who made it work.
Driven by captivating narrative and insightful analysis, Jonathan Rosenblum's book reveals the inside story of SeaTac: airport workers and clergy staging face-to-face confrontations with corporate leaders; the challenges of uniting a diverse, largely immigrant workforce; and the internal tensions that nearly destroyed the coalition. Beyond $15 is a blunt assessment of the daunting problems within today's unions; a blueprint for a powerful, all-inclusive labor movement; and a call for workers to reclaim their power and voice in the new economy.
"Beyond $15 is 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. Their victory helped set the stage for the national fight for $15." Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Councilmember, Socialist Alternative
"Beyond $15 grabs you from the beginning. Part memoir, part industry analysis, part campaign summation, Rosenblum takes the reader into an effort to transform the manner in which labor unions actually can fight to build worker power and economic justice. Beyond $15 is exciting, thought-provoking and moving as it looks not only at the big picture but at the struggles of the workers themselves to alter the terms of their working lives and their places in the community." Bill Fletcher, Jr., talk-show host, writer, & activist; co-author of Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path Toward Social Justice
"In this highly readable book, Jonathan Rosenblum gives us the fascinating inside story of how a few labor unions, faith leaders, immigrant and community groups united to build a grass roots citizens movement that won the nation’s first $15 minimum wage in SeaTac, Washington in November 2013. From that victory for community power, Rosenblum makes the important case that U.S. 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?
About the Author
Jonathan Rosenblum has been a labor organizer for more than thirty years, playing key roles including SeaTac Airport campaign director. His writing has been featured in Tikkun, In These Times, and Yes! Magazine. He lives in Seattle, WA.