San Jose’s ‘Opportunity to Work’ Initiative Gets a Big Endorsement

Dave Johnson

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted this week to endorse Silicon Valley Rising‘s City of San Jose Opportunity to Work Initiative. If passed by voters, the initiative would require employers to offer additional work hours to their part-time employees before hiring more part-time or temporary workers. This enables workers to earn enough to pay their bills and put food on the table for their families. (Or as George W. Bush once said, to “put food on your family.”)

It looks like the initiative will pass. A poll released by EMC Research says the initiative is supported by more than three-quarters of San Jose voters. The poll also found that:

● “A solid majority of 57 percent supported a potential measure in the telephone survey compared to 37 percent who oppose, and 8 percent who were undecided. Support for the measure grew significantly (to 69 percent support) after voters heard more information, and potential negative messaging did little to erode support.”

● “The vast majority (70 percent) of voters surveyed are concerned that “there are simply not enough good paying jobs for people here.” And, only 22 percent say there are too many regulations on local businesses compared with 72 percent who say treating workers fairly is the right thing to do.”

Silicon Valley Rising is a coalition on faith, community and labor groups. From the March 2015 post, “Silicon Valley Rising Fights for Worker Justice“:

Silicon Valley is an area of contrasts. When you stop at a traffic light in Silicon Valley you will often find a Maserati or Tesla on one side of you and a beaten up, 15-year-old Accord on the other. It seems there are more high-end Mercedes, Jaguars, Bentleys or the occasional Maybach than in other areas.

Silicon Valley companies, many run by stock-billionaires, pay a lot at the top, and squat at the bottom. There are the lucky employees, and a huge number of “contractors” – employees who are not called employees. The employees that reach over a certain age are discarded.

There are not a lot of people in the space between Silicon Valley’s top and its bottom. One in three Silicon Valley workers cannot even afford to live anywhere within a one-hour drive.

[. . .] Partners in the coalition are:

● The South Bay Labor Council (See their not-limited-to-labor blog The Left Hook.)

Working Partnerships USA – see Silicon Valley on the Rise, Now’s the Time to Organize.

● Community groups including Silicon Valley Debug, Christian Homeless Alliance Ministries (CHAM), San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP and Latinos United for a New America (LUNA).

● Unions including Unite Here, Teamsters, and SEIU-USWW.

See also

Silicon Valley Rising Fights To Give Part-Timers “Opportunity to Work”

San Jose Puts ‘Opportunity To Work’ For Part-Timers On The Ballot

Important Study Looks At Silicon Valley’s “Invisible” Low Wage Workers

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