We all have the right to not just a job, but a good job that allows us to afford housing, have good healthcare, and raise our families with dignity. The Bay Area economy is booming, yet low wages, precarious scheduling and work conditions, and barriers to good jobs mean many people still live in poverty. More and more companies cheat their way out of labor protections by hiring workers on a temporary, contingent basis, or as “subcontractors.” CEOs’ decisions, by prioritizing profit over people, often lock people of color out of stable employment — especially Black folks affected by mass incarceration and immigrants living in fear of deportation. Bay Rising stands for work with dignity, including good wages, health benefits, and safety and respect on the job. These objectives also require a serious, substantial, and vigilant commitment of local and state government to catch and address labor violations, and more resources to enforce the institutional labor protections that generations of organizers and activists have fought for and won.

Lead Organizations

Orange denotes Bay Rising member organizations. Green denotes partner organizations. Click on the circles to visit each organization’s website.

  • Pay Living Wages
    • The minimum wage was established to support a baseline expectation – that any working person should be able to afford a decent life. As inequality has accelerated, and living conditions have deteriorated for many, we now pursue a higher standard. However, political changes of the past five decades including the evisceration of organized labor and the right to unionize have led to wage increases that are sparse and geographically narrow. People deserve a living wage, a thriving wage, and institutional mechanisms which prevent wage stagnation during extended periods of economic growth. Fighting for a minimum wage increase is about securing a tangible local victory in the short term that pressures higher levels of government to do better by the broad swaths of working people nationwide who work hard and hardly get a fair return on their work. 
    • East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy: Raising the Minimum Wage to Lift Up Our Communities
  • Protect Vulnerable Workers
    • Many people working for lower wages and part-time are vulnerable to the whims of their bosses and poor working conditions. For example, people working in hotels are at higher risk of sexual assault when cleaning rooms on their own – so Oakland community organizations and unions rallied to get emergency alert buttons and more protections in every room. Part-time workers are also at the mercy of their bosses when it comes to inconsistent schedules that make planning childcare or a second job impossible. Bosses also tend towards hiring more and more part-time workers in order to avoid paying for their healthcare and other benefits – so people organized against these practices and won. Lastly, gig workers – who represent an increasingly large sector of the workforce as companies like Uber and Lyft have taken off – deserve more rights and benefits, so organizers in San José put together the Gig Workers Rising campaign to support their fight.
  • Further reading: Recovery led by working people
    • Several Bay Rising member organizations joined together to create the Bay Area Essential Workers Agenda, a coalition of seven worker centers representing immigrant working people and working people of color in the Bay Area. They surveyed over 1400 people working to make ends meet – earning less than $25 per hour – to find out how they have been impacted by the pandemic, and what they want in a good job. Survey respondents worked in restaurants, in-home patient care, house cleaning, janitorial work, construction, retail and more. Three-quarters of those surveyed lost work, two-thirds could not access Unemployment Insurance, more than half could not access Paid Sick Leave, and more than a quarter said they would not report a violation by their employer. These results define the Bay Area Essential Workers Agenda’s four-point platform for a true economic recovery.
    • See also: Silicon Valley Rising’s Essential Worker Council, mentioned in the Care for Young People and Families section, along with Ramil’s Story.


Photo credits, top to bottom: Silicon Valley Rising, Silicon Valley Rising, San Francisco Rising, Chinese Progressive Association / Bay Area Essential Workers Agenda, EBASE.