The Fight for Fifteen movement, launched in New York City in late 2012, is one of the most vital, innovative, and militant struggles in recent US labor history. As one Fight for Fifteen organizer put it, now many young workers “are looking at the union movement, not as something that’s stodgy, old, and past its prime, but as something that’s exciting and new and the way forward for hope in our lives…Fight for Fifteen is making the union movement cool again.”
Fight for Fifteen has won unprecedented victories. The National Employment Law Project reports that in its first four years Fight for Fifteen created the pressure to win 19 million low-wage workers a total of $61 billion in annual raises through state and local legislation raising the minimum wage, and employers pressured to raise their minimum pay.
Yet the movement has been the subject of exaggerated, often snarky and dismissive, critical comments from a number of left writers.