Amazon represents the pinnacle challenge to union organizers and socialists throughout the country. Are we in a 1919 moment, still a generation of failures away from breakthrough success? Or closer to 1935, approaching the tipping point of winning real worker power?
Jonathan Rosenblum is the author of Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement (Beacon Press, 2017) and a member of the National Writers Union. He works as a community organizer for Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant. Find him online at https://jonathanrosenblum.org/ or Twitter: @jonathan4212.
Seattle socialist city council member Kshama Sawant prevailed over Amazon in her recent reelection. Sawant won by using the same strategies that make for successful workplace organizing — strategies that socialists around the country could take up against the corporate behemoths that want them to lose.
Since first winning office in 2013, Seattle socialist city councilmember Kshama Sawant has pushed a $15 minimum wage, landmark renters’ rights legislation, free public transit, and more. Which is why Amazon has declared war on her.
Jeff Bezos doesn’t deserve any praise for the recent raise at Amazon — not least because $15 isn’t anywhere near enough.
The Fight for $15’s successes in Seattle show that the campaign can achieve victories far beyond the fast food industry.