Silicon Valley Rising

While tech companies make massive profits, the workers who keep them running smoothly have been left behind.

Silicon Valley Rising is here to fix that by raising wages, creating affordable housing, and growing our middle-class.

We're building a tech economy that works for everyone.

A Hidden Crisis: Underemployment in Silicon Valley’s Hourly Workforce

Despite being one of the wealthiest regions in the nation, Silicon Valley faces growing inequality. This report reveals a crisis of underemployment behind this trend, with a massive increase in part-time jobs with inadequate work hours that deny many the chance at a meaningful paycheck. This struggling workforce is comprised primarily of women, people of color and immigrants, with 77 percent earning under $15 an hour.

Endorse the Opportunity to Work Initiative

Why Silicon Valley Rising?

Low wage workers do their part to make Silicon Valley the most prosperous region in the world, yet they struggle every day to feed their families, pay their rent, and take care of themselves and their children when they are sick.

Although the region's top tech firms made a record $103 billion in profits in 2013, one in three Silicon Valley households do not make enough money to meet their most basic needs.

While their direct employees are often well compensated, high tech companies contract out most of their jobs to workers who are poorly paid and don't receive basic benefits.

And in a stark diversity gap, blacks and Latinos make up the majority of these janitors, food service workers, maintenance workers, security guards, and shuttle bus drivers who help build and sustain the tech economy — yet comprise just 3-4% of the core tech workforce.

Median Wages for Tech and Contract Workers

Santa Clara County, 2014

Graph showing how median wages for landscapers, janitors, and security officers is less than the self-sufficiency index, while software developers make much more.

Source: California Employment Development Department

Tech’s Diversity Problem: More Than Meets the Eye

Tech's Diversity Problem:
More Than Meets the Eye

Learn more about the tech industry's two-tier workforce in this Working Partnerships report.

We can do better

Silicon Valley Rising is taking on occupational segregation and severe income inequality with a comprehensive campaign to raise wages, create affordable housing and build a tech economy that works for everyone.

  • Quality Jobs

    A third of the population in the most prosperous region in America struggles to make ends meet. For every tech job created in the valley, 4 service jobs are needed to support it. Those jobs must pay workers enough to survive.

    Most low wage workers have no health benefits, paid sick leave or retirement options. Just as Silicon Valley is a leader in technological innovation, so too can it lead the way toward middle class self-sufficiency.

    Silicon Valley Rising will strive to engage employers and local government in public policies that will allow working families to earn enough to live in this region.

  • Affordable Housing

    The dismantling of the largest homeless encampment in America highlighted Silicon Valley's extreme housing crisis.

    The average rent in the region is $1800 a month for a one bedroom apartment — hardly affordable or adequate for a family of four earning below $40,000 a year.

    Through community, faith and labor partnerships, Silicon Valley Rising will pursue progressive public policy to enable working families to afford to live where they work.

  • Corporate Responsibility

    Contract workers are still tech workers. Tech companies that employ security contractors, food service contractors and shuttle contractors have a responsibility to make sure those workers are treated with the same dignity and respect as the employees whose paychecks say Apple or Google.

    Silicon Valley Rising will work to engage these corporations in seeking ways to ensure their contractors are allowing their workers to earn a living wage, have the chance to receive health and retirement benefits and can take advantage of policies like paid sick leave.

In the news

Get involved

Join the campaign for the Opportunity to Work

While the Silicon Valley economy is booming, working people and their families are caught in a crisis of underemployment. The number of part-time jobs has mushroomed, allowing employers to avoid paying benefits and leaving working people piecing together two or three jobs to make ends meet. 31 percent of working people in San Jose are paid under $25,000 a year – less than the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

Silicon Valley Rising has launched a campaign to put an Opportunity to Work ordinance on the San Jose ballot to provide access to hours for these workers, freeing them to work more so they can earn enough to pay for the basic necessities. It would require large companies to offer additional work hours to current qualified employees through a fair, transparent process before hiring any additional staff.

This measure will provide tens of thousands of hourly workers in San Jose — the 10th largest city in the country — with the opportunity to work enough hours so that their paychecks cover the bills and put food on the table.

Get the facts

Join the Silicon Valley Rising campaign!

Help us ensure all tech workers can make a decent living:

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Tell Intel: Disrupt Inequality

Intel is just one of many Silicon Valley companies where predominantly black and Latino low-wage subcontracted workers have second class status. Cafeteria workers, employed through subcontractor Guckenheimer, earn an average of $11.50 per hour while serving free lunch to employees who earn six figures.

Tell Intel CEO Brian Krzanich that you stand with the workers

Intel is bringing in a new contractor to run their cafeteria at the end of the month. The new contractor has a choice: they can lay off all the workers and crack down on leaders - or, they can treat the workers fairly in their process to join a union. Intel pays the bill. They can call the shots.

Tell them it’s time to disrupt inequality.

Who we are

Silicon Valley Rising is a coordinated campaign driven by an unprecedented coalition of labor, faith leaders, community-based organizations and workers.

We aspire to a new vision for Silicon Valley where all workers, their families and communities are valued. We have high expectations for this Valley and for our communities:

  • We want to be a part of creating a new economic model that rebuilds the middle class.
  • We want to raise wages and standards for all workers so they can live and thrive here.
  • And we want to build housing that is affordable and accessible so that our families don't have to live in garages, in their cars, or near a creekbed.

Our campaign is about bringing everyone in this Valley together to solve the biggest challenges of our time. Join us!

Coalition members

The campaign is led by Working Partnerships USA and the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, along with:

  • Affordable Housing Network
  • Asian Americans for Community Involvement
  • Communication Workers of America
  • Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Latinos United for A New America
  • Minority Business Consortium
  • NAACP San Jose Chapter
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Rainbow PUSH Coalition
  • SEIU Local 521
  • Silicon Valley De-Bug
  • UNITE HERE Local 19

Silicon Valley Rising