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.


Get on the Bus!

Posted April 16, 2014

VTA and Santa Clara County cities are close to making final decisions about the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

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/brt

Download the Flyer

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**

Download the Flyer

RSVP to Maria at maria@wpusa.org or 408-809-2134


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.

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 lauerhahn@wpusa.org.

Interfaith Lent Action for Hyatt Workers

Posted Mar. 26, 2014

As part of a collaborative Lent action since Ash Wednesday, the Interfaith Council has led community and faith members in a prayer vigil at Hyatt Santa Clara for the hotel to better treat their workers with dignity and respect.

Each day, faith leaders send letters to Dania Duke to express to Hyatt management that they stand in solidarity with Hyatt workers and that they will continue to pray for the 40 days of Lent until hotel management recognizes the rights of the workers.

The prayers are conducted from Monday to Saturday from 1-2 p.m., and the Council welcomes community members interested in praying for justice to partake in the vigil for the remaining weeks. Those who wish to participate will be provided with a candle and sign, which states that you are praying for Hyatt workers.

 If you are interested in joining this powerful faith action, please contact Esha Menon at esha@wpusa.org, or call 408-809-2127.

More pictures here.

Good Jobs Build Strong Communities

Posted Mar. 18, 2014

On Saturday, March 14th over 80 community leaders and labor leaders came together to strategize ways in which we can transform Silicon Valley’s economy to an economy that works for everyone, including low-wage workers and working families. 

The day was filled with testimonies from worker leaders, who illustrated the mosaic of current struggles of low-wage work from different points of view.    

Non-profit leaders Sandy Perry of CHAM Deliverance Ministry, Raj Jayadev of Silicon Valley De-Bug, and Patrick Soricone of United Way Silicon Valley shared their perspectives on the importance of recognizing the intersectionality of worker rights to other issues such as transportation, housing, and the need for a safety net.

A theme that emerged out of discussions was the emphasis on coming together out of “our silos” and back into our communities to work for and with low-wage workers.  Attendees left the Summit empowered, rejuvenated, and recommitted to a progressive, equitable vision of Silicon Valley that allows working people to not just scrape by but thrive in a more inclusive economy. 

Check out pictures from the event.

Rally to protect Living Wage in San JoseWage in San Jose

Posted Dec. 12, 2013

On Tuesday, December 17 the San Jose City Council will vote to modify the Living Wage Policy to exempt retailers  at City Hall and the Convention Center.  San Jose shouldn't sacrifice the welfare of workers by paying poverty wages to facilitate development. 

Join workers, religious leaders and community members to defend the Living Wage Policy

When: Tuesday, December Where: San Jose City Hall, outside the Rotunda

RSVP to organizeinscc@gmail.com or 408-606-2062

Holiday Party 2013liday Party 2013

Posted Dec. 6, 2013

The 27th Annual Holiday Party
When: December 21, 2013, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Santa Clara County Fairgrounds.

Begun in 1986 by labor activists who saw a need to share with those less fortunate around the holidays, more than 25,000 children have enjoyed a day of fun, food and gifts (see a slideshow of last year's party) provided by Working Partnerships' Community Builders program.

If you know of families with children in need, tell them they can get free tickets (required for admission) by:


Posted Nov. 15, 2013

Dr. Gerard Sasges' book about the lives of workers in a Vietnam undergoing historic changes in the 21st Century -- It's a living: work and life in Vietnam today -- has been praised as "beguiling in simplicity, but epic in scope."

Working Partnerships and South Bay First Thursdays, a monthly event series for those interested in Asian American and Pacific Islander issues, will host the author for a reading and discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the Santa Clara Valley Labor Center's Hall A, 2102 Almaden Road in San Jose (map). RSVP here.

Sasges, who was born in Canada and received his Ph.D. in history at UC Berkeley, lived in Vietnam for 10 years and based his book on more than 150 in-depth interviews with "the tea ladies, market vendors, and motorcycle taxi drivers who were a part of my every day." He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore.

The event is the fifth in the 2013 Working Partnerships Social Innovators Speaker Series, which is generously sponsored by PG&E as a forum for Silicon Valley leaders to hear from innovators in many sectors of society.

Fall has been busy season
for our leadership development programs

Posted Nov. 14, 2013

Professor Terry Christensen speaks to a Leadership Institute class

Fall has been a busy season for Working Partnerships' leadership development programs, which prepare progressives and people of color for leadership roles in Silicon Valley.

Fourteen invited community activists from the government, nonprofit and labor sectors are in the home stretch of their Leadership Institute training, which concludes in December, and will join more than 300 other LeaderNet alumni. The Institute provides education and support that builds skills and develops strong strategic relationships.

Eleven invitees -- including four elected officials, a union president and two small businessmen -- will finish their Values-Based Leadership training this weekend. Plumbers, Steamfitters & Refrigeration Fitters Local Union 393 has hosted the VBL training, which is co-sponsored by the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. Participants are entering the pipeline from grassroots to the halls of power.

Guest faculty for the two programs has included Executive Director Derecka Mehrens, Research and Policy Director Bob Brownstein and Community Builders Director Steve Preminger of Working Partnerships, San Jose City Councilmembers Ash Kalra and Xavier Campos, Santa Clara County Supervisors Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez (a former Working Partnerships executive director), Executive Officer Ben Field of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, Fire Fighters Local 230 President Robert Sapien, San Jose State University faculty member and BAYMEC co-founder Wiggsy Sivertsen, retired San Jose State political science professor Terry Christensen and Teresa Castellanos of the San Jose Unified School District Board.

Supporting immigrant farm workers
at Taylor Farms in Tracy

Posted Nov. 14, 2013

Farm workers rally at the Taylor Farms plant in Tracy

Working Partnerships stood with immigrant workers at a rally at Tracy's Taylor Farms facility this morning to demand respect, living wages and affordable benefits.

The workers, who are organizing with Teamsters Local 601, spoke of ongoing safety issues at the plant including fumes from strong chemicals used to clean machinery, being forced to work up to 18 hours a day and being afraid to report workplace injuries for fear of being fired.

"Taylor Farms needs to know that the community will not stand for abuse, intimidation and harassment of its workers," said Lucia Gonzalez from Working Partnerships USA.

According to workers at the rally, unfair labor practice charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board, and the union has asked to speak with Taylor Farms CEO Bruce Taylor in an effort to start a constructive dialogue.

Thank you for the success of Champions for Change

Posted Nov. 13, 2013

Click on the image to see a slide show of all the fun at Champions for Change

Thank You! Our first annual Champions for Change fundraiser Nov. 11 was a huge success, and we are grateful to all of our sponsors as well as our Solidarity Circle family -- those of you who agreed to help sustain our work for the long-term.

Find out more about our Solidarity Circle and how you can join today.

With your on-going support we will continue the struggle for racial and economic justice for workers and communities of color in our Valley.

As we celebrate Working Partnerships' 18th anniversary, we are looking to the future. Our movement is stronger than ever, and the challenges we face are great. Housing costs are the highest in the nation. Wages in some of the most prosperous industries in our region remain stagnant while CEO pay skyrockets. Tens of thousands of workers face uncertainty like never before because they can't find a full-time job.

And while access to quality, affordable health care is now a reality for millions of workers, we are reminded of the millions more who will be left uncovered. We are up to meeting these challenges. In partnership with all who celebrated at Champions for Change with us, we plan to do our part to achieve real and lasting change in our community.

Working Partnerships' team smashes
goal for health care contacts

Posted Nov. 13, 2013

Our California Calls team won a social media challenge for posting this picture from their precinct walk on which they found a stray cat.

Working Partnerships surpassed its goal by a wide margin for its fall round of phone-banking and precinct walking to inform San Jose residents about the federal Affordable Care Act.

Our crew contacted 6,676 voters in our project as part of the statewide California Calls coalition, easily beating its goal of 5,966. They won California Calls' Social Media Challenges three times against other teams from around the state by posting pictures from precinct walks, making a video about Obamacare and by posting on the topic of the California Dream.

In addition to the informational contacts on health care, Working Partnerships' team was able to gauge local interest in affordable housing with 72 percent of the contacts saying government should invest resources in affordable housing and more than 1,000 saying they wanted to get involved in the affordable housing campaign.


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Free legal services
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voucher holders

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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