Working Partnerships USA




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $2,693,370
Expenses: $2,432,483
Assets: $3,769,159

Executive Director:

Derecka Mehrens


Left-of-Center Activist Organization



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Working Partnerships USA (WPUSA) is a left-of-center community and labor activist organization that works in San Jose, California and the broader Silicon Valley region. It supports left-of-center policies related to labor practices and development in the region.

WPUSA cofounded the group Silicon Valley Rising, a coalition of left-of-center community and labor groups that campaign on issues such as worker wages and benefits, as well as housing policy. WPUSA also runs a trades orientation program designed to give workers basic skills and then assists them with job placement. 1 2 3


In 2018 Working Partnerships USA had $3,064,528 in revenue, of which $2.497 million came from contributions and grants and $563,350 came from program service revenue. The group had $3,421,131 in expenses, of which employee salary and benefits were $2.174 million, followed by $470,691 in grants disbursed and $775,712 in other expenses. WPUSA has $3.2 million in assets. 4


Wage Mandates

Since at least 1998, Working Partnerships USA has been advocating for the implementation of “living wage” laws that require certain businesses to pay rates above the statutory minimum wage. In a 1998 paper, WPUSA argued that the city of San Jose should require all contractors hired by the government to pay a minimum wage of $12.50, indexed to the San Francisco Bay Area Consumer Price Index; provide health insurance, or additional wages of $2.50 an hour; and at least 12 compensated days off a year. 5

San Jose eventually did adopt a living wage ordinance, and in 2014 WPUSA issued a paper pressing Santa Clara County to adopt one as well. This report called for a $19.06 minimum wage for public contractors, 12 paid sick days a year, workers to have their schedules two weeks in advance, and paid jury duty. Similar to the earlier proposal for San Jose, this wage would be tied to the provision of health benefits. 6 Santa Clara County later adopted a living wage ordinance. 7

Housing Policy

WPUSA has published several policy papers dealing with housing policy. In June of 2019 WPUSA issued a paper arguing that the city of San Jose should work with Google to require that the company provide funding for low-cost housing in the area when the company built its new campus. WPUSA proposed a tax of $15-$25 per square foot to subsidize the construction of affordable housing that would cost below the market rate. 8

WPUSA has issued housing policy recommendations related to circumstances stemming from the COVID 19 pandemic. Its recommendations include forbidding eviction due to non-payment of rent accrued during the pandemic, even after the situation has ended. WPUSA also calls for the provision of free legal services for tenants navigating the eviction process and endorses various legislation that were introduced for the purpose of outright cancelling unpaid rent and requiring landlords to apply for relief, which would include regulations they would have to abide by in exchange for compensation. Additionally, WPUSA calls for unemployed illegal immigrants to be included in California’s wage replacement social safety net. 9

Silicon Valley Rising

In 2015 WPUSA cofounded Silicon Valley Rising, a partnership of labor unions and community activist groups that works to advance a left-of-center labor and developmental policy for the region. Other partner groups include the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council, SEIU Local 521, Unite Here Local 19, and International Brotherhood of Teamsters. 10 WPUSA’s Deputy Executive Director, Maria Noel Fernandez, works as the organization’s campaign director. 11

Trade Orientation Program
WPUSA administers a no-cost 130-hour trades orientation program designed to aid participants in joining a trade apprenticeship after the program’s conclusion. Participants study masonry, carpentry, plumbing, roofing, construction math, and blueprint reading, among other things, and have job-placement assistance for 12 months upon the conclusion of the program. The program is funded in part by the Marguerite Casey Foundation, the Irvine Foundation, and the Silicon Valley Social Ventures. 12


Derecka Mehrens

Derecka Mehrens is the Executive Director of WPUSA. She joined WPUSA in 2008 as the organizing director, a role she filled until 2013. She has a background in community organizing, and under her leadership WPUSA has built out its organizing base to over 40,000 people, registering over 14,000 people to vote. She also presided over the co-founding of Silicon Valley Rising, a labor organizing and activism group that workers with service works in the tech industry. 13

Mehrens contributed to the Presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in 2020 and to the ActBlue left-of-center PAC. 14

Maria Noel Fernandez

Maria Noel Fernandez is the Deputy Executive Director of WPUSA. She has previously worked as a community organizer, the district director for the previous California State Speaker Pro Tempore, and has worked with the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. From 2014 to 2017, she was WPUSA’s organizing director. She is the campaign director of Silicon Valley Rising, the labor organizing and activism group cofounded by WPUSA. Noel Fernandez is also on the board of the National Partnership for Working Families. 15

Enrique Fernandez

Enrique Fernandez is the president of the board of Working Partnerships USA. He is a labor organizer who is currently the business manager of the service-worker industry union Unite Here Local 19. He is also the president of the California State Council of Unite Here, vice president of the California Labor Federation, and the treasurer of the South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council. 16

Fernandez has made small-dollar contributions to the ActBlue left-of-center PAC. 17


  1. “Working Partnerships USA: About.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  2. “Silicon Valley Rising: About.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  3. “Trades Orientation Program.” Working Partnerships USA. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  4. Working Partnership USA, IRS (Form 990), 2018, Part I.
  5. “Living Wage.” Working Partnerships USA, 1998. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  6. “Setting Job Standards for a New Economy: An Innovative Living Wage for Silicon Valley.” Working Partnerships USA, October 2014. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  7. “Current Living Wage Rates.”, April 8, 2020.
  8. “The Google Rent Hike.” Working Partnerships USA, June 2019.
  9. “The Eviction Time Bomb.” Working Partnerships USA, July 2020.
  10. “Silicon Valley Rising: About.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  11. “Maria Noel Fernandez.” Accessed October 27, 2020.
  12. “Trades Orientation Program.” Working Partnerships USA. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  13. “Derecka Mehrens.” Accessed October 27, 2020.
  14. “Individual Contributions Mehrens Derecka.” Accessed October 27, 2020.
  15. “Maria Noel Fernandez.” Accessed October 27, 2020.
  16. “Enrique L. Fernandez.” UniteHereImmigration. Accessed October 27, 2020.
  17. “Individual Contributions Enrique Fernandez.” Accessed October 27, 2020.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Dorian Warren
    Board Member
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1996

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $2,693,370 $2,432,483 $3,769,159 $177,711 N $2,174,655 $514,257 $1,512 $230,987
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,446,883 $2,307,082 $3,516,432 $185,871 N $2,866,506 $578,134 $1,516 $232,211 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,245,041 $2,072,032 $2,324,664 $133,904 N $1,844,133 $419,889 $1,656 $226,098 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $2,518,103 $2,051,703 $2,156,668 $138,917 N $1,731,528 $785,109 $1,466 $229,475 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $2,881,093 $2,379,989 $1,691,389 $140,038 N $1,762,963 $1,115,802 $973 $152,989 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $2,207,357 $2,422,410 $1,253,571 $143,324 N $929,919 $1,275,852 $200 $73,603 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $2,146,008 $1,899,245 $1,242,363 $134,840 N $1,670,175 $473,521 $143 $74,587 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Working Partnerships USA

    2102 ALMADEN RD STE 112
    SAN JOSE, CA 95125-2130