Groundbreaking Opportunity to Work Initiative Filed

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January 25, 2016                                                                                      408.606.2060

 Silicon Valley Rising Committee files measure to provide part-time employees access to more work hours

SAN JOSE, CA – Today, key Silicon Valley Rising members, along with community, religious and labor leaders submitted a groundbreaking measure, the Opportunity to Work Initiative. This initiative will require employers to offer qualified part- time employees the opportunity to work additional hours before hiring new part-time or temporary employees.

The Opportunity to Work Initiative is the first measure of its kind in the country.  Although San Francisco and SeaTac have adopted similar ordinances, no previous initiative has aimed to provide part-time employees across industries access to more work hours.

“Despite the fact that I work three part-time jobs, I struggle to make ends meet. Every week the number of hours I get changes, so I am never sure what my paycheck will be,” said Sara Delete, a fast food employee. “Not having access to more work hours means that I am constantly worried about being able to provide for my son, cover my rent and pay the bills.”

“Every day I see how my parishioners struggle to make ends meet because they do not have access to sufficient work hours. This initiative would help these workers support their families by getting enough hours so that their paychecks cover their bills and they can put food on the table,” stated Fr. Jon Pedigo.

“A number of employers avoid providing healthcare and other benefits by hiring new part-time workers instead of giving more hours to current part-time employees. It’s unfair,” said Ben Field, Executive Officer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. The Opportunity to Work Initiative will ensure that employers offer additional work hours to current, qualified workers before hiring extra people.

“This measure will not only help low-wage workers keep up with the ever-rising cost of living in Silicon Valley, but will also help bring equity to the workplace for female hourly workers who receive fewer hours than men,” said Angelica Ramos, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus Silicon Valley.

“We are seeing so many parents working hard, willing to do whatever they can to support their families, but most part-time workers are unable to cover their most basic needs, such as food and rent, said Poncho Guevara, Executive Director of Sacred Heart Community Service. “When part-time workers are denied hours, they are pushed further into poverty, making it impossible for them to support their families without the safety net we provide. They want to work. The Opportunity to Work Initiative would help many of the families that we serve by giving them the chance to work more hours and hopefully achieve economic stability.”

“Far too many working families are struggling to get enough work hours to pay bills and put food on the table in Silicon Valley. The Opportunity to Work Initiative is about working people in this community having the opportunity to thrive and achieve a measure of stability and economic security,” said Derecka Mehrens, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA.

“The majority of individuals working part-time jobs are people of color. As such, they are disproportionately impacted by the lack of hours, low wages and non-existent benefits, said Chava Bustamante, Executive Director of Latinos United for a New America. Every day that workers are denied hours and benefits, the well-being of their families is at risk. The Opportunity to Work Initiative is an important step in raising up our hard-working minority families and providing access to work they desperately need to survive.