Image - Californians at Work
Image - Californians at Work
Image - Californians at Work

Californians at Work: Advancing Dignity, Respect and Opportunity

This program is generously supported by The James Irvine Foundation. The private, San Francisco-based foundation has $2.3 billion in assets and makes annual grantmaking of nearly $100 million. The Irvine Foundation’s singular goal is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically.

Key industries in California, from restaurant to technology to hospitality, touch our lives each day and are central to the state’s economy. Yet hundreds of thousands of workers fueling these industries face daily challenges in making ends meet. Whether working the night shift or behind the kitchen door, many have limited voice or influence on the economic conditions that affect their lives and families.

A 2018 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute, found that nearly half of all California workers struggle with poverty, with more than one-third facing a host of difficult financial choices regularly, such as putting off seeing a doctor or purchasing medications, paying the rent or a mortgage, or paying a monthly bill. And one in 10 struggling workers report wages being withheld by an employer without cause.

Join us for an opportunity to hear from three extraordinary leaders who will share their perspectives on the challenges facing working Californians today and their efforts to ensure every worker in California is afforded dignity, respect and the opportunity to advance economically.

Irvine Foundation

Image - Jayaraman
Saru Jayaraman
President and Co-Founder, Restaurant Opportunity Centers; Director, Food Labor Research Center, UC Berkeley
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Derecka Mehrens
Executive Director, Working Partnerships USA
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Shaw San Liu
Executive Director, Chinese Progressive Association
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Farida Jhabvala Romero
Reporter, KQED News—Moderator