The fight for fifteen The right wage for a working America

David Rolf, 1969-

Book - 2016

"The fight for a higher minimum wage has become the biggest national labor story in decades. Beginning in November 2012, strikes by fast food workers spread across the country, landing in Seattle in May 2013. Within a year, Seattle had adopted a $15 minimum wage-- the highest in the United States-- without a bloody political battle. Combining history, economics, and commonsense political wisdom, The Fight for Fifteen makes a deeply informed case for a national $15/hour minimum wage as the o...nly practical solution to reversing America's decades-long slide toward becoming a low-wage nation. Drawing both on new scholarship and on his extensive practical experiences organizing workers and grappling with inequality across the United States, David Rolf, president of SEIU 775-- which waged the successful Seattle campaign-- offers an accessible explanation of 'middle out' economics, an emerging popular economic theory that suggests that the origins of prosperity in capitalist economies lie with workers and consumers, not investors and employers. A blueprint for a different and hopeful American future, The Fight for Fifteen offers concrete tools, ideas, and inspiration for anyone interested in real change in our lifetimes"--

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Subjects
Published
New York : The New Press [2016]
Language
English
Physical Description
xx, 328 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [263]-305) and index.
ISBN
9781620971130
1620971135
Main Author
David Rolf, 1969- (author)
Other Authors
Corrie Watterson Bryant (author)
  • America at 200 : the American Dream versus the War on the Middle Class
  • The new work : fissured, flexible, insecure
  • It doesn't have to be this way : resistance, unrest, and innovation
  • The little city that could : winning a $15 wage in SeaTac
  • An American wage for a stranger America : the case for $15
  • But the sky won't fall?
  • Toward a different future : $15 and beyond
  • Something's happening.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this look at the minimum wage debate, perhaps the key line is "Low wages are a choice." Rolf, president of Service Employees International Union 775, makes a compelling, if at times incomplete, case that they are the wrong choice. The book begins by quickly highlighting successful demands by workers to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Ongoing movements in Seattle and SeaTac, Wash., are heavily detailed, as are historic moments such as the WTO protests in 1999 and waitress and organizer Alice Lord's successful efforts at passing a 10-hour workday law for women in Seattle in 1901. Rolf examines activism across a variety of service professions, including janitors and home health aides. He also shows how the job market has changed, often for the worse: less job security, less employer transparency, and fewer benefits and protections, coupled with more demanding work. Rolf successfully addresses many arguments against higher minimum wages, though the amount of detail can be overwhelming. Rolf acknowledges that a higher minimum wage is only the beginning of a more equitable economy, but a chapter on other important issues, including race, gender, campaign finance, and the prison-industrial complex, feels rushed. Despite these flaws, the book will appeal to anyone looking to know more about the workings of modern-day labor movements and the stories of their members. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2016 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A union president makes an informed case for nationally increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, citing history, economics and politics along with the author's own experiences organizing workers and tackling inequality around the country. Original.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Argues that raising the national minumum wage to fifteen dollars per hour is the only practical solution for reversing America's decades-long slide toward becoming a low-wage nation.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"The fight for a higher minimum wage has become the biggest national labor story in decades. Beginning in November 2012, strikes by fast food workers spread across the country, landing in Seattle in May 2013. Within a year, Seattle had adopted a $15 minimum wage--the highest in the United States--without a bloody political battle. Combining history, economics, and commonsense political wisdom, The Fight for Fifteen makes a deeply informed case for a national $15/hour minimum wage as the only practical solution to reversing America's decades-long slide toward becoming a low-wage nation. Drawing both on new scholarship and on his extensive practical experiences organizing workers and grappling with inequality across the United States, David Rolf, president of SEIU 775--which waged the successful Seattle campaign--offers an accessible explanation of "middle out" economics, an emerging popular economic theory that suggests that the origins of prosperity in capitalist economies lie with workers and consumers, not investors and employers. A blueprint for a different and hopeful American future, The Fight for Fifteen offers concrete tools, ideas, and inspiration for anyone interested in real change in our lifetimes"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

“Rolf shows that raising the minimum wage to $15 is both just and necessary, lest the American dream of middle class prosperity turn into a nightmare” (David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist).   Combining history, economics, and commonsense political wisdom, The Fight for $15 makes a deeply informed case for a national fifteen-dollars-an-hour minimum wage as the only practical solution to reversing America’s decades-long slide toward becoming a low-wage nation.   Drawing both on new scholarship and on his extensive practical experiences organizing workers and grappling with inequality across the United States, David Rolf, president of SEIU 775—which waged the successful Seattle campaign for a fifteen dollar minimum wage—offers an accessible explanation of “middle out” economics, an emerging popular economic theory that suggests that the origins of prosperity in capitalist economies lie with workers and consumers, not investors and employers.   A blueprint for a different and hopeful American future, The Fight for $15 offers concrete tools, ideas, and inspiration for anyone interested in real change in our lifetimes.   “The author’s plainspoken approach and stellar scholarship illuminate in-depth discussions about the deliberate policy decisions that began to decimate the middle class at the start of the 1980s as well as the insidious new ways in which big business continues to attack American workers today via stagnant wages, rampant subcontracting, unpredictable scheduling, and other detrimental practices associated with the so-called ‘share economy.’” —Kirkus Reviews   “David Rolf has become the most successful advocate for raising wages in the twenty-first century.” —Andy Stern, senior fellow at Columbia University’s Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy