The inside story of the first successful $15 minimum wage campaign that renewed a national labor movement

Product Code: 6557
ISBN: 9780807098127
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Published Date: 03/14/2017
Availability:In stock
Price: $16.00

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.

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PREFACE Lessons in Power
ONE An Introduction to Power Inequality
TWO Power Shift
THREE Game Changer: Sea-Tac and the Fight for a Fair Economy
FOUR Bridging the Trust Gap
FIVE A Moral Movement
SIX If You Want Big Change, You Need a Big Idea
SEVEN Speaking Truth in the Halls of Power
EIGHT Union Troubles, Community Win
NINE Beyond the Ballot Box
TEN Beyond $15: The Social Movement Union
Author Interviews
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.

“An inspiring model for coalition building.” —Kirkus Reviews
“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.” —Booklist
“A feisty, provocative book...His analysis of the problems facing labor is insightful and sound.” —Tom Deignan, America MagazineBeyond $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
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