The challenge of expanding economic and political opportunity is intertwined, as many California workers who struggle with poverty are too often isolated in their workplaces and disconnected from the broader political process. If the collective voices of workers are better engaged and empowered, public and corporate policies that better reflect their perspectives and needs are more likely to follow.
This grantmaking initiative seeks to increase the ability of low-wage workers to influence the economic and political decisions that affect their lives and communities, and to foster partnerships that can lead to tangible gains for workers. Specifically, we are exploring:
Efforts that help low-wage workers advance public and corporate policy changes that enhance their ability to support themselves and their families, and to promote compliance and assessment of those policies
Effective employer partnerships that can elevate industry standards to livable-wage jobs and offer workers opportunities avenues to enhance their skills and advance to greater opportunities
New models of worker organizing, employee ownership, and worker supports, recognizing changes within our economy and the changing nature of work
Starting in 2016, we've made approximately $13.7 million in grants under Worker Voice and Influence to expand effective work in the field and to inform Irvine’s future grantmaking.
A two-year $500,000 grant to support efforts to build grassroots power for underrepresented communities on California’s Central Coast.
A three-year $3 million grant to support low-wage immigrant workers through organizing and leadership development, while strengthening the Partnership for Working Families network in California to collectively raise standards for workers and expand access to quality jobs.
A three-year $1.4 million grant to support low-wage restaurant workers in California by enhancing the occupational skills, leadership development, and civic participation opportunities of workers while engaging employers, policymakers, and consumers to raise industry standards.