Working Partnerships addresses the root causes of inequality in today's economy through building the capacity of workers and communities of color to lead and govern.


Silicon Valley Rising Launch

Posted February 24, 2015

Silicon Valley Rising Launch

Friday, February 27th from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Where: McDonnel Hall 2020 East San Antonio Street, San Jose [map]


Every day, low wage workers get up in the morning to serve, drive, and protect at tech campuses where more than $103 billion dollars in profits was made in a single year. Yet one out of three families in Silicon Valley does not make enough to meet their most basic needs and the housing crisis in our community continues to grow.

It’s time to act. Please join us for Silicon Valley's Launch this Friday!

We believe in a Silicon Valley where all workers, their families and communities are valued and are a part of our region’s prosperity.

Silicon Valley is the national symbol of inequality, of the haves and have nots, of racial division and those of us who call this place home are ready to build something different.

It’s about community, faith and labor leaders coming together to say we can do better and we have a plan; we believe in a Silicon Valley that works for everyone, not for a select few; and we believe that when we’re together – we’re stronger.

Trades Orientation Program builds the pipeline into a construction career

Posted February 19, 2015

In an economy where good, family-supporting jobs are scarce and getting scarcer, the high- road construction industry offers one of the best opportunities to work hard and move up to the middle class.

But many people who are looking for just such an opportunity either don’t consider construction as a career option, or don’t understand how to get into the industry. Gender balance is especially skewed – among all California construction workers, fewer than 3% are women.

The Trades Orientation Program (TOP) is a pre-apprentice class designed to put students on the pathway to a job as an apprentice and a career in the building trades. Because it is a collaborative partnership with industry representatives from the Building Trades Council and the Apprenticeship Coordinators, graduates not only earn a nationally recognized certificate, but are directly connected to local employment and apprenticeship opportunities.

Partners work2future and NOVA provide additional support for career navigation and job readiness.

The first 2015 TOP class started last week with 20 students. Recruitment for the next class will open at the end of March – if you know anyone who might be interested in getting a start on a construction career, they can find out more at http://wpusa.org/top/.

Last Day for Covered CA: February 15th

Posted February 10, 2015

Do you know what’s coming in less than a week? No-it isn’t Valentine’s Day, but something equally important.

February 15th is the last day of Open Enrollment to enroll in a health plan through Covered California. Covered California is the state’s health exchange where individuals and families who do not yet have health coverage, can find affordable and quality health insurance.

Last year over 60,000 Santa Clara residents signed up to get health coverage through Covered California. Not only that, but over 80% of individuals received tax credits that helped lower the cost of their coverage, to make it even more affordable.

To sign up for coverage follow these easy steps:
1. Go to coveredca.com
2. Click on the APPLY tab on the top right hand of the page.
3. If you had signed up for coverage last year through Covered California, your information has already been saved and you’ll be able to navigate through the process faster. Otherwise just follow the steps to get enrolled.
4. If you still have questions or would like to sign up in person, visit scchealthconnection.org where we have posted enrollment events in Santa Clara County this week, with the contact information of the enrollment counselors.

*Covered California also serves application services in other languages including Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Korean, Khmer, Lao, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. Just scroll down the Covered CA website, and click on the language that’s best suited for you.

Building an Inclusive Economy for All

Posted December 15, 2014

Nineteen years ago, labor, community, and faith leaders came together with a vision for an inclusive regional economy where workers, low-income neighborhoods, and communities of color thrive.

Working Partnerships USA was born.

Since then we have been at the forefront of organizing cutting-edge policy campaigns to define a new economy based on shared prosperity and mutual accountability.

Today, we are proud to launch a new strategic plan which outlines our three year vision for the future.

Our communities can no longer wait. Working families need housing they can afford, jobs that pay a living wage, a transportation system that connects all people to opportunity, and land-use policies that generate inclusive and sustainable growth.

The challenges of rising economic inequality, concentration of political power, and disinvestment from public institutions demand that we lead innovative strategies in order to win lasting changes in our communities.

Movements for social justice need new models for integrating deep neighborhood organizing with mass based civic engagement, and values-based leadership development. For these reasons we are moving forward with a new strategy that builds upon the successes and lessons of our 19-year history.

Download 2014 Strategic Plan

Living wage violator owes $19.2 million to workers and taxpayers

Posted December 12, 2014

The second largest waste and recycling company in the world owes more than $19 million to San Jose residents and local workers.

The City ordered Republic Services a year ago to pay back wages and fines for violating wage law, but they have flouted the order, refused to pay, and continued shorting their workers, saying that the law doesn't apply to them.

Click here to tell Republic that the community will not let them get away with this.

Republic Services, which runs the Newby Island Landfill and processes San Jose's recyclables, has been found to be underpaying its workers since 2011. It now owes them back wages of $4.8 million. And it owes the City of San Jose a fine of $14.4 million for violating the living wage policy. Republic is hanging onto millions of dollars that belong in the pockets of low-wage workers and the coffers of a City that has gone through brutal budget cuts to police, fire, parks, libraries and other essential services.

Tell Republic - it's time to pay your debt to society.

Champions for Change 2014: Building the Movement for Shared Prosperity

Posted December 3, 2014

Working Partnerships USA is hosting its 2nd annual fundraiser Champions for Change.

When: Thursday, December 11th
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Where: Triton Museum, Santa Clara [map]
RSVP: wpusa.org/c4c

At Champions for Change, we will celebrate our collective victories and accomplishments this year, and honor leaders who have championed change and made positive impacts in their communities and across sectors.

Our honorees:

Social Consience Champion
SEIU Local 521

Community Champion
Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition

Minimum Wage Warriors
Councilmember Margaret Abe-Koga, City of Mountain View

Mayor Jim Griffith, City of Sunnyvale

Vice-Mayor Jim Davis, City of Sunnyvale

Thank you to our top sponsors!

Change Champions
Plumbers, Steamfitters & Refrigeration Fitters UA Local 393
IBEW Local 332

Movement Makers
California Faculty Association - San Jose State University Chapter
Marguerite Casey Foundation
SEIU Local 521
Teamsters Joint Council 7
UNITE HERE! Local 19

VTA's Bart Silicon Valley Extension Phase II Project Updateate

Posted November 30, 2014

Please join Working Partnerships USA in advocating for equitable transit policies by attending at least one of the three forthcoming community meetings hosted by VTA regarding Phase II of the BART Silicon Valley Santa Clara Extension.

This is an opportunity for community members and allies to learn more about the BART Phase II process and timelines, BART station alternative options, as well as to ask VTA staff relevant questions.

As community members, our ongoing engagement and participation in the BART Phase II process will help ensure that VTA’s process and policy considerations are equity-informed and transparent.

Flyer: English / Spanish
Please circulate it to your network and the public.

Meeting 1
Date: Monday, December 1, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza 1700 Alum Rock Ave San Jose, CA 95116

Meeting 2
Date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: VTA Customer Service Center 55 West Santa Clara Street San Jose, CA 95113

Meeting 3
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Santa Clara University Locatelli Hall - Bldg. 710 (Along El Camino) 500 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95053

For more information about our Transportation Justice work, please contact Charisse Ma Lebron at charisse@wpusa.org or call 408-809-2124.

Santa Clara County Healthcare Enrollment

Posted November 10, 2014

Working Partnerships USA is honored to be collaborating with the Office of Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, State Senator Jim Beall, and Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Nora Campos to host an Open Enrollment event to mark the first day of Open Enrollment for 2015 healthcare coverage.

When: Saturday, November 15th 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Yerba Buena High School Gymnasium 1855 Lucretia Avenue, San Jose, CA 95122 [map]

Flyer: English / Spanish

For more information, contact:

Office of County Supervisor Cindy Chavez
P: 408-299-5027
E: jeff.cardenas@bos.sccgov.org

Working Partnerships USA
P: 408-809-2124
E: charisse@wpusa.org

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?

When: Thursday, October 23, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Where: MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana 510 South 1st Street San Jose, CA 95113 [map]
RSVP: http://bit.ly/1t6JU76

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.

This Social Innovators Speaker Series event is generously supported by PG&E.

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.

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 2102 Almaden Road, San Jose, CA 95125 [map]

Register your Safety Center by Wednesday, October 16th.

 Donate to Safe from the Start 2014.

Questions? Contact Son Chau at son@wpusa.org or 408-809-2122.

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 infosj@spur.org.

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.


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As many as 18,000 Silicon Valley households in the federal Section 8 housing program are getting rent increases and 3,000 to 4,000 families will get rent increases as well as a reduction in their housing size as a result of budget cuts known as "sequestration." The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley is offering free legal services, counseling and referrals to Section 8 voucher holders who have received nonpayment notices or who are subject to eviction. Please call (408) 280-2424. Download more information here.

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