The following is a Truthout interview with David Rolf, union organizer and author of The Fight for $15.By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview
Mark Karlin: How does the nationwide Fight for $15 as a minimum wage represent the importance of grassroots activity and tenacity in achieving social and economic justice goals, particularly in terms of advocates taking the lead in compelling politicians to take action?
David Rolf: November 2012 marked the beginning of a new movement of underpaid workers in a particularly infamous industry -- fast food. New York Communities for Change and SEIU, along with a host of other community, civil rights, labor, and religious organizations, supported some two hundred workers in walking off the job. Two hundred is a tiny number in a city of 8 million people, but still newsworthy because it was the first labor protest by fast-food workers within living memory. Then, in the summer of 2013, with support from SEIU and union workers in other industries, the first coordinated national fast-food strikes ignited in cities all around the country: Seattle, New York, St. Louis, Detroit, Harrisburg, Milwaukee, Chicago, Flint, Kansas City -- 60 cities in all. Over the next two years after the 2013 strikes, a broader call for $15 emerged, as fast food and other low-wage workers protested in hundreds of cities around the globe.