The Fight for Fifteen

The Right Wage for a Working America

A new vision for higher wages and a revitalized America from “the most successful organizer of the past fifteen years” (The American Prospect)

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.


“David Rolf has helped put low-wage workers in Seattle at the forefront of a national movement for a $15 minimum wage; his forward thinking helped paved the way for some of the greatest progress toward addressing our nation’s growing income inequality that we’ve seen in decades.”
—Saru Jayaraman, author of Behind the Kitchen Door and co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
“David Rolf’s first book is a call to action, reminding us that we define what’s possible in politics, and that the future of the economy is at stake. If you’re interested in what can actually be done about inequality, read this book.”
—Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America
“Anyone interested in fighting for workers and getting results should read David Rolf’s new book on the importance of raising the minimum wage. Few people in this country have the on-the-ground perspective and passion that David has when it comes to increasing wages and giving workers and families the tools they need to succeed.”
—Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
“David Rolf has become the most successful advocate for raising wages in the twenty-first century. Where others talk, David leads, and his book is an inside look at a campaign that has the potential to make work pay again.”
—Andy Stern, senior fellow at Columbia University’s Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy and former president of the 2.2-million-member SEIU
“With intellectual rigor and practical wisdom, David Rolf shows why the fight for a $15-an-hour minimum wage is not just a local battle but a national moral necessity—and a cornerstone of a decent society.”
—Robert B. Reich, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley
“David 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 of enduring poverty for millions of workers in the bottom half of wage earners.”
—David Cay Johnston, bestselling author of The Fine Print and Free Lunch and winner of the Pulitzer Prize

News and Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly reviews The Fight for Fifteen

Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus calls The Fight for Fifteen "a savvy inside look at the social movement challenging decades of stark economic decline" in their review


Read an excerpt from The Fight for Fifteen on Alternet

Goodreads Reviews