We are seeking an Organizing Director who will be responsible for developing and implementing organization-wide program and organizing strategies to drive the long-term agenda of Working Partnerships USA. The primary responsibilities of the Organizing Director include efficiently managing campaigns, creating and executing an Organizing Model that aligns with the organization’s goals, and overseeing the growth and advancement of a developing leadership pipeline.
Today we are filled with hope and determination as we inaugurate a new President of the United States.
For the past four years, our communities have been under attack by the Trump administration.
Immigrants, Black, Brown, and Indigineous people, women, and so many more of our families and neighbors have been villainized by forces that seek to divide us against each other so they can maintain their privilege and power.
The prior administration sought to take away people’s freedom to join together in a union, making it harder for working families to keep food on the table — while billionaire CEOs capture ever more of the rewards of our labor.
We’ve choked on smoke from wildfires made worse by climate change, while the administration rolled back environmental protections at the behest of polluters.
The pandemic has hit Black and Brown communities — home to so many essential workers and families pushed into overcrowded housing — hardest, forcing us to say goodbye to loved ones via Facetime while the White House denied science and responsibility to act.
And most recently, violent insurrectionists have assaulted our democracy, egged on by politicians who pledged to govern in our name and enabled by some who swore to serve and protect us.
But these years also showed our collective strength. We have pulled through everything that’s been done to divide, derail and dishonor our most basic rights. We have stood strong in the midst of unrelenting attempts to discredit and silence Black, Indigenous, immigrant and other communities of color. We have acted at the local and state level to look out for each other and respond to the pandemic as best we can.
It is quite frankly a relief to have a federal government that believes in science, is prepared to tackle COVID-19, cares about working people, and recognizes the harms of systemic racism. There is much our leaders in Washington must do to meet the demands of this moment.
At the same time, we also know that transformative change rises from the bottom up. Ideas, policies, and strategies we pioneer locally can become models for other local, state, and national policymakers.
So in the coming months, we look forward to collaborating with our movement partners across the nation to win the federal action our communities need — and to acting locally to build grassroots power and shape innovative solutions for our communities.
This is our moment to draw on the strength and resilience we’ve forged in the fires of the past four years. The organizing done by so many — here and across the nation — to elect new leaders at all levels of government means we now have the opportunity to drive change impossible a month ago.
We must not let this moment go to waste. Look out for updates and action alerts in the coming weeks: we’ve got a lot of work to do.
Together, we will get through this pandemic, protect our planet, advance racial justice, care for our families, and lift up working people. We’re so glad you’re in this movement with us.
Derecka Mehrens & Maria Noel Fernandez
This morning, we released a new study on Silicon Valley’s “invisible workforce” — the cafeteria workers, janitors, security officers, and other people who keep tech campuses running.
The key takeaway: tech giants’ commitments to their service workers have meant over 14,000 people can make rent, see a doctor, and pay bills during the pandemic.
The people who cook, clean, and protect these tech campuses are as much tech workers as programmers and engineers. In many cases they’ve devoted their careers to the industry. And through years of powerful organizing side by side with community members like you, they’ve won higher wages, full-family health insurance, and — perhaps most importantly — a growing recognition by the industry that they are an integral part of the tech workforce.
In the early days of COVID-19, that organizing led nearly all major Silicon Valley tech corporations to announce they would maintain pay and benefits for their subcontracted workers while campuses are closed. This has been a crucial anchor of stability for the Black and Brown communities that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 — 64% of unionized tech service workers are Black or Latinx.
Yet in the past couple months, a few outliers like Yahoo (now owned by Verizon) and Lyft have chosen to abandon their workers. They’ve taken away wages and healthcare from several hundred people in the middle of a pandemic.
If the rest of the tech industry were to follow suit, it would have devastating impacts on thousands of families. Our study looks at what the impact would be if Silicon Valley tech giants laid off their thousands of subcontracted blue-collar workers. Among the findings:
- The number of unemployed workers in Silicon Valley could increase by more than 10%.
- Up to 12,000 service workers could lose health insurance coverage, along with family members who depend on the coverage.
- An estimated 6,500 families with children could be at risk of being unable to pay rent.
- An estimated 8,300 renters could be at risk of being unable to pay rent.
There’s no excuse for tech giants not to maintain their commitments to these workers, especially when those corporations continue to make billions.
Silicon Valley’s tech firms have continued to prosper during the pandemic. The biggest tech companies — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), and Netflix — have seen stock prices rise over 45% year to date, hitting historic highs and a combined value of over $5.5 trillion. These corporations have also received billions in public subsidies and tax incentives, including at least $654 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
These tech companies have a responsibility to maintain their commitments to the people who have worked hard for years to keep tech campuses running safely and smoothly.
Today, I am angry, and I am hopeful.
I am angry that giant corporations and billionaires can spend obscene amounts of money to deceive and divide us — so they can keep their wealth and privilege.
But I am hopeful because we are building deep community power into a political force that will last and grow far beyond this election.
In the run-up to this election, we wrote that “racial capitalism is on the ballot.” Both sides put forward ambitious agendas. Corporations and right-wing forces sought to imprison more people and cement the gig economy’s caste system. Those committed to justice sought to expand voting rights, overturn legacies of racism, and make corporations pay their fair share.
We won important measures that give more people a voice in our democracy and protect the reforms our movements have made in criminal justice. But on two key initiatives, lies paid for by corporate money carried the day.
On Prop 22, Uber, Lyft, Instacart and other gig corporations spent $200 million deceiving voters to buy a carveout from the law. Californians thought they were standing with gig workers — exit polls showed a full 40% of those who supported Prop 22 thought their yes vote meant livable wages for drivers. Instead, gig corporations can now legally deny drivers the pay, benefits, and rights all working people should have in their jobs.
This blatant abuse of our initiative process is deeply troubling — both for the hundreds of thousands of app-based workers in California, and for our democracy. We should expect Uber and Lyft to try the same thing elsewhere in the country, and for corporations in other industries to follow their lead.
With Prop 15, we took on one of the toughest fights in California: closing commercial property tax loopholes to fund the schools and community services we all need to thrive. Here in Santa Clara County, over 55% of voters supported Prop 15. Unfortunately, the opposition’s barrage of misinformation and fear tactics — much of it deliberately targeted at Black and Latinx voters — pushed statewide support for the measure below 50%.
Taken together, these results show the battleground on which we stand — and our path forward. Corporations will spend millions on deceptive, racially charged ads. Their political allies will put up barriers to make it harder for people (particularly people of color) to make their voices heard at the ballot box, at city hall, and in the streets. We cannot underestimate what we’re up against.
Yet at the same time, this election reinforces that together we are powerful. Gig workers led the fight against Prop 22: building a unified coalition, sharing their stories, and taking over Market Street in front of Uber’s headquarters. These leaders are far from defeated, and will pull us all forward with them. As driver Cherri Murphy said the day after the election, “they may have won this round, but we’re in this for the long haul.”
On Prop 15, years of organizing by an unprecedented statewide coalition brought us within striking distance of overturning the “third rail” of California politics. Over the past six years, we and our partners at California Calls, the Million Voters Project, and the labor movement have been building an electorate that better reflects our diverse state: bringing in young voters, voters of color, new voters, and those working low-wage jobs. Just this fall, our statewide alliance talked with over 500,000 voters and recruited over 15,000 volunteers.
This is what people power looks like, and this multi-racial electorate — one that believes in racial, economic, worker, and social justice — is the future of California.
While losing on these initiatives hurts deeply, I find inspiration in what we did together, and what it means we can do going forward.
Because ultimately, this work is never just about one proposition, or one election. It’s about creating a new configuration of power, rooted in communities of color and the labor movement. With sustained organizing, we are inviting historically marginalized communities to claim their role in our democracy. We are advancing a powerful vision of good jobs, vibrant neighborhoods, and racial justice. We are strengthening the infrastructure, networks, and grassroots leadership that makes bold structural reform possible. Our movement is stronger today than it was when this election season began, and we’re far from done.
So first, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who contributed to growing our collective power. Thank you to those who gave your time to gather petition signatures, make phone calls, and text your friends and family. Thank you to the gig workers who gave your all to the Prop 22 fight, you will carry us onward to victory. Thank you to all our partner organizations — you inspire us every day.
And then I want to look ahead. City council majorities in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Gilroy are positioned to lead policymaking that brings resources, attention, and power to long-marginalized communities. Together, we will protect renters, lift up essential workers, help our families and small businesses get through the pandemic, and ensure that corporations and billionaires contribute to our common good.
We will drive progress in our cities, our county, and in Sacramento. And you better believe that next election season, we will come back even stronger.
In solidarity & health,
This election, a generation-defining set of propositions is on the ballot in California. We will decide whether multi-billion dollar corporations can buy our democracy, or if we will center the lives, voices, and needs of Black, indigenous, people of color, and women in our politics and our economy.
California voters will choose between the agenda of those who seek to perpetuate systemic racism and sexim in our policymaking — through ballot measures that will invest more in the carceral state, restrict voting rights, and cement the gig economy’s caste system to benefit corporations and the wealthy — or to fight back against the legacy of racism.
In short, this election is a referendum on our existing model of racial capitalism, and we must decide where we stand.
For decades, corporations have consolidated their control of the economy and our democracy. As they have captured an ever-larger share of the wealth generated by our society, their agenda has pushed millions of working class people of color in our state to the brink — trapped by stagnant wages, unstable work, destabilizing inequality, and deep economic and occupational segregation.
But thanks to years of powerful organizing, our diverse communities across the state are uniting together to fight back. California has emerged as the epicenter of a national resistance movement and a key battleground to re-write the rules that allow racial capitalism to exploit Black and Brown lives for profit. Together, we are laying the foundation for an alternative vision for our democracy: one built on the principles of collective prosperity, racial and gender justice, the interconnectedness of our communities, and the freedom of all people.
Here are some of the key initiatives that will shape this foundation:
Yes on Prop 15: Schools and Communities First
Since 1979, a handful of giant corporations have exploited property tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of property taxes. By closing those loopholes, Prop 15 will reclaim up to $12 billion a year for our schools, community colleges, public health, and other local community services. The measure fully protects homeowners, renters, and small businesses. This funding — more than $100 billion over a decade — would be transformative, reversing decades of disinvestment in Black and Brown communities.
Yes on Prop 16: Opportunity for All
California remains one of only nine states that bans equal opportunity policies. This ban was enacted in 1996 as part of a racist, anti-immigrant agenda. By repealing this ban we can repudiate that legacy, and remove a major structural barrier to race conscious policy-making in the fifth largest economy in the world.
Yes on Props 17 & 18: Voting Rights
California voters have the opportunity to show the country that now is the time to expand democracy, not take it away. Proposition 17 would restore the rights of people on parole to vote, and Proposition 18 would expand the right to vote in primary and special elections to 17 year olds who will turn 18 by the general election.
No on Prop 20: Protect Criminal Justice Reforms
Law enforcement organizations and interests are seeking to roll back progressive gains made when California voters passed Propositions 47 and 57, which changed low-level crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. By spending less money locking up (disproportionately Black and Brown) people, those measures redirected funds toward drug and mental health treatment programs and victim services. Defending these wins is critical.
Yes on Prop 21: Keep Families in their Homes
Across California, corporate landlords have hiked up rents again and again, often taking more than half a family’s income. Rent hikes disproportionately hurt people of color, seniors, and families with children, and push far too many out of their communities or onto the street. Prop 21 would allow local communities to enact or expand rent control policies that limit how much rental prices can increase each year. It does not require any city or county to adopt rent control, but it gives them the choice to do so. Prop 21 would provide stability so families can stay in the neighborhoods they know, kids can keep their same teachers, and we can maintain the diverse communities that make us strong.
No on Prop 22: Protect Gig Workers – Fight the Gig Sham
Last year, gig workers fought for and won historic new protections with the passage of AB5. Under AB 5, people working in the gig economy (like Uber and Lyft drivers, Instacart delivery workers, etc) are considered employees, with protections like minimum wage laws, sick leave, and unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits. Instead of abiding by the law, Uber, Lyft, and Doordash are spending over $200 million on a ballot measure to repeal those protections. They are trying to use their wealth to overrule the legislative process, blatantly violate the law, and continue to profit from the labor of hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers and workers of color.
This election marks the opportunity to set a new course for California. A path affirming that corporations and the wealthy cannot buy our democracy, that people come before profits, and that Black Lives Matter.
At the same time, we are seeing gig companies, real estate giants, and other massive corporations spending unprecedented amounts of money against us. They see the power we have built within our communities — not in any single institution, but in a dynamic, resilient network of organizations and coalitions across our state. They’re running scared, and spending millions on deceptive ads seeking to divide us against each other so they can keep their wealth and privilege.
Those millions mean these initiatives are tough fights, and polling suggest many will come down to the wire. So with just 6 days left in what feels like the longest election season of our lifetimes, our teams are all in.
We are having phone conversations with hundreds of voters every night, reaching thousands more through social media, and using new tech tools to facilitate powerful conversations between our volunteers and voters in their personal networks. We’re in this fight 1,000%, and we know you are too.
Here are some of the keys ways we need you involved in the final days:
- Yes on Prop 15: Sign up to call voters for Prop 15 (we’ve even got costume contests for Halloween).
- Yes on Prop 16: Sign up to send texts and make phone calls for Prop 16, and sign up here if you’d like a Prop 16 yard sign.
- No on Prop 22: Join leaders from Gig Workers Rising who are on the front lines of the fight to fix the gig economy — sign up here to make calls to defeat Uber and Lyft’s attempt to buy themselves an exemption from the law.
We likely won’t know all the results on election night, but what we do in the next six days will shape the trajectory of our democracy for years to come. And no matter the outcomes, we will carry forward these fights for justice, and the collective power of our growing movement. We plan on leaving it all on the field — every ounce of energy, fight, and hope.
In solidarity & health,
Maria Noel Fernandez
Deputy Executive Director
Last week, while immigrant workers fasted on the Capitol’s doorstep, praying for the passage of AB 3216 to give them a light at the end of the long tunnel of 2020, Governor Newsom ignored their calls and vetoed the bill.
AB 3216 would have ensured that hospitality, janitorial and airport workers can return to their jobs when COVID-19 shutdowns end.
The late-night veto of AB 3216 is a huge disappointment to the hospitality workers of UNITE HERE, who fought so hard for a right of recall, and to all of us allies who stood with them: from women’s organizations, immigrant rights advocates, grassroots communities, faith leaders, racial justice organizations, and solidarity from unions and workers’ organizations across the state and nation – all the way to the professional sports players of the NFL, MLB and NHL, who all called on Newsom to support hospitality workers and sign the bill.
But now we go onward. If Governor Newsom blocks workers’ rights, we will turn to our cities — many of which have already passed local rights of recall — to community solidarity, and if necessary, to the streets.
To quote Maria Sanchez, one of the courageous hotel workers who fought for AB 3216: “I came to the Capitol with hope in my heart that the Governor would hear my story and stand with me…Instead I see that I will depend on my co-workers so that we can defend ourselves against the power of mega-corporations.”