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.
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.
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.
I've had housecleaning by them for four years, always with great results. The quality has been consistent each and every time. To top it off, only natural products are used, the workers get a fair wage and are involved in the decisions. They are doing well on all fronts.
I think people sometimes accept a lower level of service in exchange for supporting a business with good progressive credentials. However, with WAGES, I don't have to -- because their service is super!