Local Community Organizing
We believe that building a more just America requires engagement, organizing and leadership. It requires unfettered democracy. We must all take action and do our part.
Local organizing campaigns help put power in the hands of individuals, families, workers and communities, strengthening democracy and moving us closer to the promise of an America where everyone can share in social and economic opportunity, and enjoy equal rights and liberties.
In this work we are inspired by Jewish tradition, which has galvanized our community for thousands of years to take action build a better future.
Over the past eight years we have organized in support of hotel workers, helping 4,000 people in San Francisco, Chicago and Hawaii increase their wages by $2.30 an hour and beat back attempts to take away their employer-provided health insurance. We also played a key role in a fight for a living wage at Emeryville’s Woodfin Hotel, which resulted in a group of hotel workers receiving $125,000 in back pay.
Most recently, in March, we met with Hyatt management to demand that the hotel chain put an end to employment practices that make its employee safety record among the worst in the hospitality industry, and that they stop making it difficult to organize their non-union workers. We also joined a well-publicized rally in support of Martha and Lorena Reyes, sisters and Hyatt employees with more than 30 years of combined experience working for the chain, who were fired after they removed photos of themselves form an “employee appreciation” bulletin board that had been digitally altered to impose their faces on the bodies of women enjoying a day at the beach. Please join us in telling Hyatt this in unacceptable and demanding that they reinstate the Reyes sisters. Sign the petition.
We are supporting Mexican supermarket (Mercado) workers in the Bay Area who are fighting for basic labor rights including meal breaks, a minimum wage and overtime, paid sick days, and the right to organize without fear of being fired. Most recently we have come out in support of a proposed investigation into worker abuses at the area’s Mi Pueblo markets.
In 2010 we helped pass the nation’s first Domestic Worker Bill of Rights in New York State. Now we are working to achieve the same protection for domestic workers in California. Last June the California Assembly passed the bill with our support; now we’re organizing to help push it through the State Senate and on to the governor’s desk. In July we travelled to Sacramento to make our voices heard just before a critical Senate Labor Committee vote on the Domestic Workers bill. In August, with the proposed law just one step away from a full vote by the California Senate, we joined a statewide week of action in support of its passage. The law will set hour and wage regulations for in-home caregivers and housekeepers, including mandated overtime pay, vacation pay and a 40-hour standard workweek, and establish protections for domestic workers facing discrimination or harassment. To learn how you can support passage of the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, please send an email to DWcampaign@bendthearc.us
In 2008 we mobilized Jews throughout California to oppose Proposition 8 and helped produce a 78 percent Jewish vote in favor of marriage equality and civil rights for all.
On a balmy October evening in Palo Alto, over 30 people came together to launch the new Bend the Arc: South Bay Chapter.