As a young union organizer, David Rolf led a campaign that unionized 74,000 home care workers in Los Angeles, the largest single unionization since the UAW organized Ford seventy years earlier. Yet he is convinced that the model of collective bargaining is over, and that we need fresh new approaches to looking out for the rights of workers. He has been a leader of the effort to establish new minimum wage laws at $15/hour—a rate higher than anyone previously thought possible—and together with Nick Hanauer, has promoted the idea of a “shared security account” as the on-demand worker’s equivalent to company-provided benefits. As the American Prospect put it, “in the fight to raise Seattle’s minimum wage to $15, even though few if any of the beneficiaries were or would become union members, Rolf ended up bargaining with employers on behalf of the city’s entire working class.”
— Tim O’Reilly
It was easier to organize thousands of citizens to vote on a minimum wage ordinance than it would have been to organize the 4000 workers at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
In 1913, a department store executive predicted that if children could no longer be employed, department stores would go out of business.
Known nationally as an innovative labor leader, David Rolf is the president of SEIU 775, the fastest-growing union in the Northwest, representing 43,000 home care and nursing home workers in Washington state and Montana. He also serves as an international vice president of the Service Employees International Union, the international organization which represents more than 2.1 million workers in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
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