Who We Be: The Colorization of America
Posted October 20, 2014
Race. A four-letter word. The greatest social divide in American life, a half-century ago and today. In this period, the U.S. has seen the most dramatic demographic and cultural shift in its history, with what can be called the "colorization" of America.
But the same nation that elected its first Black president on a wave of hope—another four-letter word—is still engaged in endless culture wars. How do Americans see race now? How has that changed—and not changed—over the half-century?
Join MACLA, KQED, Working Partnerships USA and Jeff Chang as he reads from and discusses his much-anticipated book, Who We Be: The Colorization of America, a powerful and timely cultural history of the idea of racial progress.
Jeff Chang is the executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts + Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University.
Named by the Utne Reader as “one of the 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World,” Jeff Chang has been a USA Ford Fellow in Literature and a winner of the North Star News Prize.
His first book, Can't Stop Won't Stop, garnered many honors, including the American Book Award and the Asian American Literary Award. He was a founding editor of Colorlines magazine.Tweet
Setting Job Standards for a New Economy
Posted October 15, 2014
One in every three working households in Silicon Valley didn’t earn enough to make ends meet, according to Setting Job Standards for a New Economy, a new report released by Working Partnerships USA.
Our report calls for the ordinance to go beyond raising wages, revealing that the growth of poverty in Silicon Valley is driven by more than just low wages:
We are pushing to keep Silicon Valley the capital of innovation – not only in technology, but also in creating the kind of economy where, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can support your family and pursue your dreams.
Download the report.Tweet
Safe from the Start 2014
Posted October 7, 2014
Working Partnerships USA is organizing another year of Safe from the Start, our successful program to promote pedestrian safety in Santa Clara County and keep our neighborhoods safe on Halloween night.
This year, we will establish more than 160 “Safety Centers” in participating neighborhoods throughout Santa Clara County. In total, we will distribute 50,000 glow necklaces to trick-or-treaters.
Safe from the Start 2014 Kickoff
When: Sunday, October 26th, 1 PM – 4PM
Register your Safety Center by Wednesday, October 16th.
Donate to Safe from the Start 2014.
Questions? Contact Son Chau at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-809-2122.Tweet
Shaping the Future of Our City: 2014 San Jose Mayoral Debatee
Posted October 3, 2014
Working Partnerships USA is pleased to co-sponsor with SPUR and other allies the upcoming San Jose Mayoral Debate.
Date: Thursday, October 9, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Place: Morris Dailey Auditorium, One Washington Square, San Jose State University [map]
While San Jose is already the third-largest city in the state, we must be prepared to accommodate the anticipated population growth. San Jose leads among the cities in the South Bay for job growth and will account for 13 percent of the total job growth in the Bay Area equivalent to 147,000 jobs by 2040.
Access to affordable housing, quality jobs, and a robust, affordable, and dependable transit system are critical components to ensuring that San Jose is a place where all communities can live, grow, and thrive.
Do you have questions for San Jose’s next mayor? #sjmayorsdebate with your question on Twitter or send it to email@example.com.Tweet
Economic Prosperity Strategy: A Roadmap for Inclusive Growthh
Posted October 2, 2014
Inequality is a huge and growing problem in Silicon Valley and nationwide. From the viewpoint of the working poor on the wrong side of the inequality gap, the number one need is access to better-paying jobs.
Simply put, our economy needs to generate more middle-wage jobs so that people who work here can afford to live and raise families here.
But economic projections show the Bay Area is moving in the opposite direction – towards an ever-small share of middle-wage job openings. What will it take to change this trajectory away from the “hourglass economy” towards inclusive growth?
A broad group of community, labor, business, transportation, housing, environmental and local government stakeholders have spent the past 18 months tackling this question. The result is the Economic Prosperity Strategy, which lays out the challenges and provides a framework to expand economic opportunity throughout the 7-million-person San Francisco Bay Area.
Efforts to move forward with solutions are already underway. Ten pilot projects are happening across the region from Santa Rosa to San Jose. Local minimum wage increases have been proposed in half a dozen cities across the Bay Area, along with living wage policy initiatives in several counties, including Santa Clara. Even more coordinated and strategic regional action will be needed to create a new model for sustainable growth that lifts up all communities..
Want to learn more? Download the report here.
Principal authors of the Economic Prosperity Strategy are the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy (CCSCE), SPUR, the San Mateo County Union Community Alliance (SMCUCA) and Working Partnerships USA.Tweet
Historic Law Passes in California
Posted September 30, 2014
Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1897 by Assemblyman Roger Hernández into law on Sunday, Sept. 28.
This new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015, will hold companies accountable for serious violations of the rights of workers on their premises that are committed by their own labor suppliers.
"This bill will help to make sure I have someone to go to when I need help at work. The company receiving my labor can no longer say they're not responsible for my injuries," said Jose Gonzalez, a temp worker who has worked at Taylor Farms for ten years.
The labor movement in California is truly leading the nation on corporate accountability and worker protections for the most vulnerable in our state. Working Partnerships is proud to support this campaign and the on-going efforts to organize California’s immigrant food chain workers.Tweet
Temporary Work, Permanent Injuries
Posted September 17, 2014
"After years of giving my best to Taylor Farms, after seriously injuring
myself at work, I was thrown away like garbage--I was explicitly fired because
of my injury. No working person should have to endure such abusive, shameful
The nature of work is changing across the country.
Nationwide, there were about 3.4 million so-called “staffing-agency jobs” last year according to the National Employment Law Project. What we know is that as this workforce trend grows, so does the erosion of basic rights to protect workers’ health and safety.
Workers in the food processing industry are particularly vulnerable to health and safety risks in the workplace, which is reflected by the fact that in 2012, nonfatal work-related injury or illness for full-time food-manufacturing workers’ was greater than in all of manufacturing and the private sector.
That’s why Working Partnerships partnered with the Occupational Health Internship Program to investigate the reality that “temp workers” in the food processing industry face every day at Taylor Farms in Tracy, CA.
Read our reports here.Tweet
Part of the Family: The Battle for Domestic Workers' Rights
Posted September 3, 2014
When: Wednesday, September 10th
7 pm - 9 pm
Where: Santa Clara Valley Labor Center, 2102 Almaden Road, San Jose, CA 95125 Register: bit.ly/PartofFamily
Sheila's work has appeared in Jacobin, Salon, Reuters, Slate, Alternet,
Truthout, and Penn Law, among others.
"One of the best books on a very present-day movement that we’ve read in a long while."—Demos, a progressive public policy organization
“[The book] will open the eyes and hearts of our nation and inspire vital changes in our policy and culture.”—Sarita Gupta, Executive Director of Jobs with Justice; Co-Director, caring Across Generation
FREE event, donations appreciated. Food will be be provided. Books will be sold.
Sponsored by: PG&ETweet
Tech's Diversity Problem: More than Meets the Eye
Posted August 25, 2014
Our analysis shows that tech corporations employ an “invisible workforce” of Latino, Black, and immigrant workers: those who clean, guard, maintain, and cook on tech campuses every day, often for poverty-level wages and without benefits.
These contracted service workers aren’t counted on tech companies’ official
employment rolls and are rarely mentioned in the public discourse.
The study “Tech’s Diversity Problem: More Than Meets The Eye” reveals tech’s direct impact not only on its engineering workforce, but on the broader problems of inequality and working poverty in the region that so many tech superpowers call home.
In order to make Silicon Valley a valley of opportunity for everybody, we must start with improving standards for those on the bottom. Let’s work towards that vision with beginning to have a real conversation about what’s going in our community, not just what the major corporations want us to talk about.
Join us and stand with ALL tech workers by signing up to support the Tech Can Do Better campaign.Tweet
Today: Tell the County Government Why We Need a Living Wage
Posted August 25, 2014
TODAY, the Santa
Clara County Human Relations Commission is holding two town hall meetings on the
cost of living in Silicon Valley.
Join us to tell the County government we need a living wage that provides fair wages, healthcare and earned sick days, and other crucial jobs standards.
To ensure we pass a strong living wage policy, it’s crucial that the County hears from people like us.
There are two meetings today: 2-4pm, and 6-8pm.
Isaac Newton Auditorium:
70 W. Hedding St, San Jose, CA
Translation and free child care will be provided.
Your voice can drive home the urgency of quality jobs and build momentum for the living wage.
August 13: Earned Sick Leave Hearing in San Josese
Posted August 6, 2014
That number is simply unacceptable.
We'll be releasing a new report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research that reveals just how widespread the lack of paid sick leave is in our region, and will hear testimony from workers who experience this reality first-hand.
No one should have to decide between their paycheck and their health, and earned sick time would ensure thousands of working families don't have to face that choice. Register for the hearing here.Tweet
Raising the Floor, Closing the Income Gap
Posted August 4, 2014
In the spirit of the Labor Movement and Labor Day, please join us for a special Social Innovators Speaker Series event featuring nationally-recognized author, activist, and interfaith leader Kim Bobo.
When: Wednesday, August 27th 6 pm – 8 pm
Where: Santa Clara Valley Labor Center 2102 Almaden Road, San Jose, CA 95125 [map]
As always with our Series, the event is FREE; donations accepted. Food will also be provided.
Kim helped coin the phrase “wage theft.” Her book Wage Theft in America helped get the issue on the national radar.
Prior to founding Interfaith Worker Justice, Kim was a trainer for the Midwest Academy and Director of Organizing for Bread for the World. She is co-author of Organizing for Social Change, the best-selling organizing manual in the country.
Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 408-809-2122.Tweet
Doing Nothing is not an Option
Posted July 29, 2014
Working Partnerships USA, with the support of other community groups, started a donation drive one week ago for the families and children detained at the border. In that time, we have collected dozens of giant boxes filled with needed supplies. We recognize that this crisis migration is part of bigger issue that should be addressed from the root cause.
While we acknowledge that this one act alone will not resolve the larger crisis, we must organize and act quickly to provide for these children in need. For the past weeks community members and groups including Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and SIREN have shown tremendous support by collecting donations.
On July 21st we sent the first batch of donations down south. We plan to continue collecting donations until August 16th. We hope that our community continues to support this effort and put pressure on our representatives to use their power to implement humanitarian and just solutions – not deportation.
Read entire article by Sarait Martinez-Ortega on The Left Hook.
- - -
If you’re interested in donating, please stop by our office at 2102 Almaden Road, Suite 112, San Jose, CA. For more information, contact Sarait at 408-809-2121 or Sarait@wpusa.org.Tweet
High Quality Early Childhood Education
Posted July 9, 2014
Working Partnerships has completed its work with FIRST 5 Santa Clara County and UC Berkeley to support high quality early childhood education through their study, Building an Early Childhood Education Teaching Quality Model.
Our dynamic team of assessors traveled to over 65 preschools and family child care sites to assess the impact of FIRST 5’s professional development programs, which provide training, coaching, and other professional development for preschool teachers. With close to 500 children assessed, the study gauged the cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional development of our county's preschoolers in relation to their teachers’ participation in one of the various professional training programs offered.
Working Partnerships’ commitment to children and youth goes from 2001, when we pioneered the Children’s Health Initiative, our leadership in the 2012 campaign to secure funding for that and other children’s programs in the long term. Most recently, we successfully advocated for the inclusion of over $1 million in funding for youth programs in San Jose City budget. Participating in this project also supported our broader government accountability and reform work, helping FIRST 5 to maximize the use of public dollars on programs that have the biggest impact on children’s learning.
We look forward to sharing the results of the study when it is published.Tweet
Posted July 1, 2014
We’re excited to welcome Charisse Ma Lebron, our new Director of Health Policy and Community Development. Charisse joins our team working for healthcare for all and a strong public safety net in an era of reform. She will lead our campaigns to expand access to high-quality public transportation, increase affordable housing and ensure equity as our communities grow.
Charisse brings over a decade of public policy experience in both government and nonprofit sectors, leading on issues ranging from socioeconomic and health equity to environmental sustainability and economic development. She served most recently as District Director for the California State Assembly Speaker pro Tempore. As Chief of Staff for San Mateo County Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson, she secured key partnerships of elected officials, federal agencies and regulators, top banking corporations and community-based stakeholders to address the housing crisis, resulting in assistance for 800 families; she also led execution of the County’s first job fair for formerly incarcerated residents, with over 30 major employers participating.
Read Charisse’s publications:
Prior to her service to elected officials, Charisse was the Director of Advocacy and Corporate Responsibility at Marin Institute, advocating for youth and people of color. At the California Reinvestment Coalition, she partnered with stakeholders to engage Fortune 500 banks and military leadership to combat predatory lending. She also held roles with Equality New Mexico and the Howard Dean Presidential Campaign.
Charisse holds a degree in political science and international relations from the University of Rochester. She sits on the Santa Clara County Housing and Community Development Advisory Commission and the Board of Directors of Pathways to Safety, an organization dedicated to helping victims of human trafficking. An avid traveler and scuba diver, Charisse lives in San Jose.Tweet
Trades Orientation Program
Posted June 11, 2014
Applications are being accepted now for the Santa Clara County Trades Orientation Program (TOP). Santa Clara County TOP is a 120-hour course leading to certification and the opportunity for a job with a union construction firm.
Applicants must be age 18+, have a high school diploma or GED, and be able and available to work full-time. Women, people of color and United States veterans are encouraged to apply.
Orientations will be held next week and classes begin in July. Interested applicants should call Gary Walsh at work2future, 408-794-1164.
Check out the flyer for more details.Tweet
Join Our Solidarity Circle, Join the Movement
Posted May 19, 2014
Working Partnerships USA just kicked off its Solidarity Circle Spring Donor Drive to build the movement for economic and racial justice in Silicon Valley by building a mass base of supporters.
Solidarity Circle is our new individual donors program for supporters like you who align with our values and vision for an inclusive economy for all.
Here are a few campaigns your contribution will help fuel:
Launching the Quality Jobs Network
Partnering with the San Mateo County Union Community Alliance and building on the 6 Wins coalition, Working Partnerships is bringing together labor, social justice, equity and environmental organizations to tackle the issue of good jobs standards in regional planning.
Fighting to Preserve Youth Funding
In a team with the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofit, Working Partnerships is fighting to preserve $2.1 million in the City of San Jose's 2014-15 budget for Youth Services by engaging hundreds of low-income residents on this issue, and we have seen incredible community support. Stopping Wage Theft
Stopping Wage Theft
In collaboration with 16 community organizations, we formed the Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition to develop aggressive local policy solutions to wage theft. The Coalition is advocating for passage of a strong wage theft policy at the County of Santa Clara in the coming months which would increase penalties and deter employers from wage theft abuse.
With your support, we will launch new campaigns with core partners in labor, the faith community, and social justice advocates for jobs standards and living wages, earned sick leave policies for workers, and a transit system that works for communities of color in the Valley. Become a member today!Tweet
All Aboard Bus Rapid Transit
Posted May 14, 2014
Have you ever gotten stuck in traffic on 101, or stuck on a Caltrain that isn’t moving, or stuck at a VTA stop waiting on a bus? If you live or work in Silicon Valley, whether you drive, take public transit, or both, your answer is probably “yes”.
Transportation infrastructure is a critical link to economic opportunity, connecting us to jobs, school, and more – but the transportation system in the Valley is straining to accommodate our growing population.
One promising innovation to help increase mobility is Bus Rapid Transit. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is an enhanced bus system with new specialized vehicles, dedicated lanes and improved technology to provide faster, more frequent and more reliable service. BRT provides the flexibility of buses with the efficiency of rail.
In Silicon Valley, years of planning have gone into developing a proposed BRT system that would greatly improve transit service and help relieve roadway congestion. However, so far, the voice of average bus riders has largely been left out of this debate. In fact, BRT opponents have often tried to argue that “no one rides the bus.”
We know that is far from the truth. In the past two months Working Partnerships volunteers and staff have talked with over 200 bus riders to help ensure those voices are at the decision making table. The newly launched Silicon Valley Transit Riders United is now fighting to improve transportation options for tens of thousands of workers, students, seniors and other residents all over the County.
Organizing for better transportation options is more than a Silicon Valley phenomenon – it’s a national movement. From May 12-16, folks across the country are celebrating National Infrastructure Week by talking about how we can rebuild and re-envision our nation's transportation, water, and energy systems to reinvigorate quality job creation and increase access to basic services for all communities.
To find out more or get involved in our campaigns for quality jobs and transportation justice, contact email@example.com.Tweet
When Workers Must Come First
Posted May 12, 2014
Check out the following contributions by Working Partnerships' staff on recent events!
Director of Policy and Research Bob Brownstein’s article “San Jose’s False Reform: It’s Time to Get Real About Pensions and Other Challenges,” featured on the Mercury News, points out the reality that followed San Jose’s pension reform: losses in public services and neighborhood security.
Obama’s visit to Walmart in Mountain View drew demonstrations from activists and labor groups that opposed the President's decision to recognize a company that champions worker repression and poverty wages. Director of Organizing and Civic Engagement Maria Noel Fernandez was interviewed by SF Gate, and expressed disappointment with Obama who chose to “visit Walmart, instead of actively supporting its workers.” She was also interviewed by El Mensajero on its coverage.
Executive Director Derecka Mehrens, along with Worksafe Executive Director Gail Bateson, authored an article for Workers’ Memorial Day, advocating for safer workplaces and international worker power, in light of the tragedies at the garment factory in Bangladesh and Taylor Farms in California.
Likewise, the article "Remember Fallen Workers," written by Maria Noel and Worksafe Program Administrator Nicole Marquez, alludes to the legacy of the United Farm Workers and Cesar Chavez in the current struggles among food processing workers who continue to face high rates of injuries, frequent retaliations when they try to report these injuries, and rampant wage theft.Tweet
Mourn for the Dead, Fight for the Living!
Posted April 29, 2014
Close to 100 community, faith, elected, and labor leaders turned out to Monday’s Workers’ Memorial Day procession starting from Plaza de Cesar Chavez and press event at San Jose City Hall.
The demonstrative and symbolic event sought to not only honor workers who have passed and those who work under dangerous conditions, but also to bring attention to policymakers and employers the importance of workplace safety.
At the press event, workers from different trades shared their stories to illustrate the realities of the dangers on the job.
Other featured speakers included Consul General of Mexico Carlos Ponce Martinez, Business Manager of Plumbers Local 393 Bill Meyer, Staff Attorney of Worksafe Nicole Marquez, and Boardmember of the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice Stan Taylor
Check out event pictures, an article about the event by the Left Hook, and Worksafe's report "Dying at Work in California: The Hidden Stories Behind the Number," in which Director of Organizing & Civic Engagement Maria Noel Fernandez is a contributor.Tweet
Get on the Bus!
Posted April 16, 2014
These final decisions could improve transportation options for tens of thousands of workers, people of color, immigrants, students, seniors, and other residents across the county.
However, so far, the voice of average bus riders has largely been left out of the debate. In fact, BRT opponents have often argued that very few people ride the bus, despite being presented with data showing otherwise.
Please join Working Partnerships on 4/22, 4/23, or 4/24 to outreach to bus riders, inform them about the BRT projects, and ensure riders have a strong voice in key upcoming decisions impacting the bus system.
Food and training provided.
Please sign up for one or more volunteer shifts: http://www.wpusa.org/brtTweet
Workers' Memorial Day 2014
Posted April 9, 2014
Workers? Memorial Day takes place every year on 4/28 to remember workers, killed, disabled, injured, or made unwell by their work.
With the help of unions and the progressive community, Working Partnerships is co-hosting San Jose’s Workers’ Memorial Day march and press event to raise awareness of the issue of workplace safety to policymakers and the larger community.
Please join us on April 28th from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm to address the need for good jobs that are safe and healthy to ensure the freedom of workers to form unions – and through their unions – speak out and bargain for respect and a better future.
When: April 28, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Where: Gather at Cesar Chavez Plaza @ 11:30 am, Procession to City Hall, Press Event outside City Hall Rotunda @ 12:15 pm
Who: Union members, allies, community members **Please come in your work uniform**
RSVP to Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-809-2134Tweet
California Calls Reaches 1,000 Voters on Progressive Reform
Posted April 7, 2014
In collaboration with the California Calls coalition, Working Partnerships engaged close to 1,000 voters on local budget issues during the spring round of phone banking.
We contacted some of the areas hardest hit by the budget cuts and talked to residents about their desire to invest in education, healthcare, and senior care. Over 90% of voters expressed their interest in raising and directing money to the communities most in need by investing in community centers, gang prevention services, and youth/senior programs.
In addition, we encouraged voters to participate in a larger discussion of issues by inviting them to speak with an organizer about what they are seeing in their community. More than 300 people voiced their interest in working with our organizer to help move our leaders to support funding for programs that will make positive impacts in our neighborhoods.Tweet
Quality Jobs Network Brings Together the Bay Area to Work for Better Jobs
Posted April 2, 2014
A network of labor, social justice, equity, and environmental organizations have come together to tackle the issue of good jobs standards at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which controls over $700 billion in federal, state, and other funds for transportation, development, and conservation projects.
The issues of job quality and access have been largely absent from the plans and funding decisions made by MTC. As a result, development in the Bay Area often happens in ways that exacerbate existing disparities and widen the inequality gap.
Led by Working Partnerships USA and the San Mateo County Union Community Alliance, the Quality Jobs Network is building upon the broader 6 Wins Network, which last year achieved impressive victories in adding an equity lens to regional planning.
In 2014, the Network plans to target funding for local transportation and planning activities known as One Bay Area Grants and the criteria for spending “cap-and-trade” funds, which are generated by the auction of greenhouse gas emissions permits under AB 32, California’s historic Global Warming Solutions Act.
Adding explicit standards and metrics for good, quality, accessible jobs to both these programs will be the first step towards a new framework for economic development that generates good, family-supporting jobs and access to those jobs for all of the Bay Area’s diverse communities.
To find out more or get involved, contact Louise Auerhahn at email@example.com.Tweet
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