Working Californians aims to rebuild the connections, shared interests and partnerships between working people and the business world to collectively identify innovative solutions that go beyond the bottom line. We accomplish this with our focus on social innovation and entrepreneurship, economic recovery, low-income housing and cultural engagement.
Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Working Californians partners with industry leaders, professionals and community organizations to develop public and private programs that foster social innovation and entrepreneurship at the grassroots level. These programs are designed to serve a large cross-section of people, from working families to small businesses to members of underserved communities.
Through political advocacy, we encourage the development of new kinds of investment and funding models for entrepreneurs in California, including B Corporations and investments that profit based on social impact success.
Through leveraged partnerships with our allies, WCA develops pilot programs and business incubators in lower-income communities. This fosters the growth of small and medium sized businesses in the very neighborhoods where workers live.
With our outreach programs, we aim to educate small business owners about the positive impacts they can have on their communities by paying their workers good wages. At the same time, we educate the public about the value of patronizing locally-owned small businesses.
WCA believes that by forging strong partnerships between workers and employers and emphasizing their shared interests, businesses can do well while doing good and spur the next wave of economic growth throughout California.
Working Californians believes that the focus of our economic recovery should not simply be on job creation but rather on creating opportunities that pay decent wages and provide entry into lasting career paths. WCA is committed to defending workers’ rights and ensuring that all workers have access to a living wage, affordable health care and safe working conditions.
We also encourage business owners and local governments to see collective bargaining as an opportunity to forge strong and mutually beneficial partnerships. WCA believes that one area in which such strong partnerships can be particularly fruitful is in training the next generation of workers for the demands of the 21st century economy.
We spearhead programs that educate workers about the newest, greenest technologies in their industries and help them develop skills that match the needs of local businesses. WCA believes that by bringing labor and industry together, we can harness the expertise of workers, improve the efficiency of local industries and increase worker productivity, allowing businesses to pay their workers middle-class wages while reducing their long-term costs.
WCA promotes smart growth ideas for the 21st century. We focus on ways to upgrade our infrastructure to reflect advances in green technology. This approach creates quality jobs while helping local businesses and area residents minimize their energy costs. Working with local real estate developers and government officials at the city and state levels, WCA will encourage local green manufacturing and increase the energy efficiency of local building projects.
Working Californians is developing low-income housing partnerships and initiatives that fight urban blight, create good jobs and improve the environment while providing affordable housing to those in need. We believe these development efforts should take a holistic approach to enhancing the lives of residents. We believe housing needs can be best addressed by offering residents access to public transportation, healthcare, child care, counseling and social services and job placement and training programs.
WCA also believes that low-income housing developments can serve as engines of economic growth and recovery in the surrounding neighborhoods. We work to join development efforts with job training programs run by labor and community organizations, helping to craft Project-Labor Agreements that require high levels of local hires, resident involvement and on-site job training during construction.
These innovative programs provide workers from within the neighborhood the opportunity to work full-time while developing a variety of hard skills with the newest, greenest technologies that help them build their careers. In turn, owners and developers can increase the quality and energy efficiency of the housing units produced.
By collaborating with housing developers, labor organizations and community groups in the creation of low-income housing programs, WCA aims to make these housing developments models of social innovation and entrepreneurship in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles and California.
Performance | Art | Action
Working Californians proudly harnesses the power of the entertainment capital of the world. Cultural moments and inspiring events can be just as important for the community as smart policies and programs. WCA strives to unite performance, art and action to improve the community for working families.
6,500 people joined us at the Nokia Theatre along with the legendary Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Tom Morello: The Night Watchman before we hit the streets to defeat Prop. 32 on the November 2012 ballot. 500 people including top political leaders joined us in February 2013 at ESPN Zone @ L.A. Live for the Super Bowl. Our 2nd annual Labor Day Weekend concert, NightShift LA 2013, will hit Friday August 30, 2013 at 5:00pm at Lot 7, Next to Staples Center, featuring the legendary Aaron Neville, folk superstar Lucinda Williams, kings of “Chicano rock”, The Iguanas and rising reggae sensation, Etana.
WCA draws star power to support our goals, bringing outside attention to our mission to do well by doing good and unifying diverse groups into a combined force for sustained and inclusive economic growth.
- We launched the New Working Californians website focusing on profiles of our programs, values and commitments to “doing well by doing good”
- 500 supporters participated in the Working Californian’s Super Bowl fundraising event at the ESPN Zone @ L.A. Live, including business and political leaders from around the state and an appearance by UCLA (now Green Bay Packer) running back sensation Jonathan Franklin.
- We launched a massive, multi-dimensional campaign during the local municipal elections to support candidates who had a demonstrated history of fighting to lift families from poverty and rebuilding an economy that creates a strong middle class.
- We launched the formation of the Working Californians' public charity, which will be focused on social innovation and low-income housing projects.
- WCA entered a critical new phase of planning and action with the addition of key consultants, a new website and new branding materials.
- We launched a comprehensive LA county wide grassroots, media and web-based campaign to defend Californians against Prop 32, which would have given loopholes and special exemptions to out of state billionaire CEO's, land developers and Wall Street hedge fund managers to create an unfair, unbalanced and undemocratic playing field.
- We played a major role in soundly defeating Prop 32 with 56% of the vote. We did it, with your help, by launching a grassroots and direct media campaign that organized more than 30,000 people online, in the streets and at the Nokia Theatre for a benefit concert with Crosby, Stills & Nash and Tom Morello.
- We successfully pushed back against a proposed local ballot initiative to enact draconian changes to local worker pension funds. (We must stay vigilant on this issue!)
- In the coming days, we’re launching NightShift, WCA’s Annual Labor Day Weekend Kick-Off concert at L.A. Live to celebrate working people and the businesses who believe in strong labor-management partnerships.
- We’re prepping for the first-ever Los Angeles Social Innovation Summit, being produced to help inspire business innovation for social transformation.
- WCA will launch its Council of Economic Advisors which will create policy recommendations for voters and political leaders to enact to help move our regional economy forward.
Image via Shang Lumpia