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.

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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