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About the Women's Collective
- Women's Collective Mission and History
The Women's Collective of the San Francisco Day Labor Program seeks to fulfill three primary goals: 1) Increase economic/employment opportunities; 2) Facilitate collective empowerment; and 3) Raise community awareness around day laborers and domestic workers. To fulfill the first goal, we run two worker associations which connect workers looking for work and employers looking for help. The employment relationship is between each employer and worker. All wages go directly to the workers. There is a 3 hour minimum for any job.
Benefits of using the Day Labor Program and Women's Collective:
- We have been providing quality labor services to San Francisco for more than 17 years.
- We know our workers personally and match their skills to your needs.
- Workers are centrally dispatched.
- We offer organized work services that respect the dignity of the workers.
- We offer special skills training for our workers.
- We follow up on your personal experience with the Program.
- The Women's Collective is trained in green cleaning and uses cleaning products that are safe for you and your family.
To hire workers, call (415) 252-5375 or 252-5376 during our business hours: 7am-1pm, Mon-Fri, 7am-12pm, Sat. We are also open on holidays. Call with as little as an hours' notice to reserve reliable workers who are available 7 days/week, at all hours, at reasonable rates.
Women's Collective Mission and History
The Colectiva de Mujeres (Women's Collective) seeks to achieve economic and social justice for Latina immigrant women regardless of their immigration status. We fight to promote and uphold the human rights of women to advocate on behalf of themselves, their families, and communities in the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural arenas.
The Colectiva is a San Francisco Bay Area-based membership organization of Latina immigrant women. The Colectiva was formed in 2001 by a strong and dynamic group of predominantly undocumented immigrant women domestic workers. The Colectiva formed to create a space where women could help each other find jobs, receive training, identify community resources, and learn about legal developments in immigration and labor rights.
Accomplishments of Women's Collective of the Day Labor Program
Job Referral Program and Social Services
- We placed domestic workers in approximately 500 jobs. These jobs pay $60 for 3 hours minimum and $15/hour minimum after that. This total does not include jobs that our members maintained on their own after securing them initially through our job referral service.
- We provided Vocational English-as-a-Second Language 3 times per week with an average of 6 workers attending per class. Medical services and social services were provided to our members through the weekly medical clinic provided by a doctor and the monthly social service clinic provided by a social worker, with approximately 150 units of service over the 12-month span. The food donation program for members continues under the supervision of the elected volunteer coordinators.
- Approximately 75 women sign up on the employment list everyday seeking work. On average, 40 women regularly attend Wednesday meetings of the Women's Collective.
- New Coordinators: Twelve coordinators were elected by and from the membership. 7 of them are new to the coordinating team and thus in leadership roles for the first time.
- Training Opportunities and Vocational Workshops: Seven new peer trainers who had completed a training-for-trainers in 2006 led 5 Safe and Dignified Cleaning trainings with a total attendance of 80 participants. Between the trainings, the trainers have held meetings to evaluate their work, practice and deepening their skills. We also held several shorter leadership development trainings on topics including meeting facilitation, member recruitment, retention, and agitation, conflict management, team-building, and campaign development.
- Comite So(u)l: We established Comite So(u)l, a new women's empowerment and self-esteem leadership team and provided intensive training to several members of this team. The preparatory training included members' participation in facilitation and peer counseling trainings led by Mujeres Unidas y Activas. We also worked with Amanda Nube, a healing professional, to develop the training, facilitation, and counseling skills of the leaders.
- US Social Forum: In June 2007, the Collective sent a delegation of 2 members and two staff of LRCL to the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta, GA. This historic gathering provided the opportunity for our members to witness first-hand the wide range of progressive organizing and advocacy work being done in communities all around the country. It gave them the opportunity to make concrete connections to members of other grassroots organizations with whom we have common cause. Our members went as part of a broader delegation from the San Francisco-based May 1st Alliance, a multi-racial coalition low wage worker organizations; together, representatives of the May 1st Alliance led a workshop on their successes and challenges building bridges between Latino, African American, and Chinese workers in San Francisco. More below on the National Domestic Worker Convening and Network.
Domestic Worker Rights Organizing
- Statewide Advocacy: In October, 2006, AB2536, the Domestic Work rights legislation authored by our statewide Household Worker Rights Coalition, was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger after it has passed both houses of the state legislature. In January, the coalition held a statewide meeting to evaluate the campaign with members from each organization. We decided that we did not want to push the bill again in 2007. Women's Collective Organizer Jill Shenker and organizers from 2 other members of the statewide coalition applied, were accepted, and began participation in the Women's Policy Institute of the Women's Foundation of California. This program will help the coalition to identify and design a statewide advocacy campaign in 2008.
- National Domestic Worker Convening: At the US Social Forum, the Women's Collective also participated in a historic convening of domestic worker organizations from around the country. Our members designed, facilitated and participated in workshops as part of this convening, and at its conclusion helped to found a new national alliance of domestic worker organizations, the first of its kind in the U.S. in a generation.
- Behind Closed Doors: In March, we released and distributed the report Behind Closed Doors: Working Conditions of California Household Workers. This report was based on the survey conducted by our members in collaboration with Mujeres Unidas y Activas and the DataCenter, and was co-published by these allied organizations. It can be viewed at www.datacenter.org/reports/behindcloseddoors.pdf
Immigration Rights and Immigration Policy
- Immigrations Raids: In a response to a waive of immigration raids by federal authorities in the first half of 2007, the Women's Collective joined with its allies to organize a week of action in March to condemn the raids, insist on San Francisco's continued enforcement of its Sanctuary ordinance.
- Federal Immigration Reform: The Women's Collective also worked with its allies to oppose immigration reform legislation under consideration in Congress that included further militarization of the border and a guest worker program-components that we categorically oppose. We held marches and demonstrations and participated in lobbying visits with elected officials. The proposed legislation was defeated in part through the efforts of grassroots immigrant advocacy organizations like the Women's Collective.
- Municipal ID Card: We participated, with our allies, in a successful campaign to pass a law for a municipal ID card available to all San Francisco residents regardless of immigration status. This is a significant victory for undocumented immigrants who can otherwise not access government-issued identification.
Technical Assistance, Regional and National Day Labor Organizing
The San Francisco Day Labor Program and Women's Collective played a more formal coordinating and leadership in Northern California for the National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON). The Collective also continued to be active in NDLON at the national level. We accomplished the following as part of this work.
- We provided technical assistance to the Graton Day Labor Program in their establishment of a women workers' project modeled after our Collective.
- Our members presented a workshop on independent women's organizing at the Northern California regional day labor conference held in San Francisco in July, 2007. Members from 6 day labor organizing projects in Northern California attended.
- We also provided technical assistance to Casa Latina in Seattle and the Domestic Worker Project affiliated with the American Friends Service Committee in Arizona.
- We sent three members from the Collective to the national conference of the National Day Labor Organizing Network in August, 2007 in Washington DC. Our members co-presented a workshop on organizing women in day labor centers. We also participated in a report-back at this event about the Domestic Worker Convening at the US Social Forum and we drafted a resolution that was revised and adopted by the NDLON assembly about gender equity.
Peer-led Workers' Rights Clinic
- Domestic worker members of the Colectiva have been trained to serve as "defensores legales" or legal assistants/advocates for workers who come to this clinic. They interview their peers about the problem the workers experienced on the job. They develop a case strategy together with Workers; Rights Supervising Attorney Hillary Ronen. They fill out forms to file cases with the Labor Commission or the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. They attend on-site visits to the employer's business or residence to confront employers about theft of wages. They attend and organize protests to recover wages. They speak to the press regarding the overall problem of wage theft. They do outreach on the street corners to inform day laborers about our clinic. They do know your rights presentations for workers (sometimes during the clinic itself and other times at community organizations throughout the Bay Area). In 2007, the peer-led Legal Clinic helped domestic workers reclaim over $200,000 in unpaid wages for approximately 90 clients.