Derecka Mehrens brings 20 years of community organizing, civic engagement, and public policy experience working in communities of color and with low- and moderate-income families.
Under Derecka's leadership, WPUSA has strengthened workers’ rights and wages through minimum wage and job protection campaigns in cities throughout Silicon Valley, including winning the groundbreaking Opportunity to Work initiative that helps part-time workers access more hours and benefits. In 2015, WPUSA co-founded Silicon Valley Rising, a coordinated regional campaign to inspire an inclusive tech-driven economy. So far, the SVR campaign has helped over 5,500 service workers in the tech industry organize for better wages and a voice at work.
As Working Partnerships USA's organizing director from 2008 to 2013, she was instrumental in developing organizing and campaign strategies to win policies improving the lives of workers and their families, including the 2012 minimum wage increase in the City of San Jose. She led the organization's non-partisan civic engagement programs building an organized base of more than 40,000 low-income communities of color in Silicon Valley, registering more than 14,000 voters and working to increase civic participation rates of voters of color and low-income voters in Santa Clara County.
Mehrens is the daughter of a union construction worker and a union community college teacher and is married with two young children. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor's degree in Sociology, History and International Studies.