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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: WAGES’ mission is to build worker-owned green businesses that create healthy, dignified jobs for low-income women. In our cooperatives, women gain good jobs, develop new skills, become leaders in their communities, and increase their economic security.

Results: Over the past decade, WAGES has built four successful green housecleaning cooperatives serving the Bay Area that have given hundreds of women the opportunity to become financially secure, gain business skills, and lead healthier, fuller lives. Overall, co-op members earn 50-100% more than they would make working for a conventional cleaning company, and on average, their household incomes have increased by more than 50% since joining a WAGES affiliated co-op. Most have health and dental insurance, along with other benefits through the co-op, and members build assets through their retained earnings held within the business. The co-ops also prevent the release of thousands of pounds of harmful chemicals into our air and water each year. The two largest co-ops average 30 members each and 1 million in annual sales.

Target demographics: Since 1998, WAGES has focused on creating jobs for Latina immigrant women, who become members of housecleaning cooperatives that use environmentally friendly cleaning techniques to protect worker health and the environment, while building stable, lucrative businesses.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area

Community Stories

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

34

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

WAGES is an absolutely amazing organization doing very important "green jobs" work. They provide low-income women the training and support they need to form and operate successful worker-owned, environmentally-responsible cleaning cooperatives. WAGES clients are empowered to control their own destinies. They own their business, earn living wages, have health insurance for themselves and their families. WAGES trains coop members in environmentally preferable cleaning practices, using non-toxic products that have been carefully screened. This approach protects the workers and their clients from exposure to toxic chemicals, and reduces environmental impacts. I became aware of WAGES because two of the coops they formed, Natural Home Cleaning Professionals and Eco-Care Professional Housecleaning, became certified by the program I coordinate, the Bay Area Green Business Program. To be certified, Natural Home and Eco-Care had to demonstrate what they were doing to prevent pollution, conserve energy and water and reduce waste at their office and job sites. The women who operate these businesses are knowledgeable, skillful and motivated to provide excellent, environmentally-friendly service. That is a great testimony to WAGES, the organization that prepared them to succeed.

32

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

WAGES is great, providing a valuable service to its clients and participants. i plan on using them in the future. go wages!

32

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WAGES helps low income women improve their lives and their livelihood, through green jobs. WAGES seeds cooperative businesses in which women are worker owners, get benefits, make a decent salary, and protect the environment -and their health! by using eco-friendly cleaning products. I understand that most of these women more than double their income by becoming worker-owners of their own cleaning businesses. How cool is that? WAGES deserves to be the winner of the "green choice contest" as they are helping the planet every bit as much as they are helping deserving, hard working women. Go WAGES!

33

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a professional working with worker cooperatives for 15 years, and two of their most common challenges are the inability to balance mission with business savvy and failure to replicate. WAGES addresses both of these challenges head on in a spectacular way. It creates vibrant cooperative businesses that fulfill a strong environmental, social, gender, and racial justice mission. It also has replication built into its structure: expect to see green women-owned worker co-ops showing up in your region before long!

33

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization that has created very innovative ways for Latinas to own their own business and reduce pollution from household chemicals. I got to know WAGES 8 yeas ago and am inspired but their leadership connecting environmental and economic justice. Their impact promoting non-toxic cleaning and educating not just the cooperative members but their clients and other women. I have been happy with the excellent quality services and impressed with the confidence and team work that the women have.

25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with WAGES in early 2009 and it has been a wonderful experience for me. Through volunteering with Wages I have learned so much about coops and the many benefits of being a worker owner-from additional job security, health benefits, and empowerment. I'm learning tons and excited to continue volunteering with WAGEs!

25

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The folks at wages didn't stop at just reforming home cleaning, they're now gearing up to create healthier and more fair conditions for those who clean the commercial sector! Their enthusiasm and commitment to help and assist others whose voice isn't as strong (or as understood, due to language barriers) is admirable and inspiring. As a commercial real estate advisor and local building owner, I'm thrilled at the opportunity to hopefully help such a great organization of passionate and skilled people.

24

Donor

Rating: 5

I think WAGES performs two important roles supremely well. It educates not only the women who clean with environmentally approved products but also the owners whose houses they clean. Secondly by creating a role of ownership for the women who belong to and run these organzations, it gives them them the dignity they have every right to have.

28

Client Served

Rating: 5

WAGES helps create and support the development of sustainable business which enable women to work with dignity and control over their own futures. The business that I have most familiarity with is Natural Home Cleaning which not only does an excellent job with green house cleaning, but also empowers the coop members to run their own business and participate in the decisions that impact their work.

28

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have an old enamel "Wedgewood" stove, well-used but no longer the glowing white it once was. I never saw it so clean as when we had WAGES-trained and -organized cleaners here. The whole house breathes a sigh of relief after they come through.