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.
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.