As the Bay Area economy has boomed, so has the demand for housekeeping services — and the 110-member La Colectiva run out of the Day Labor Center on Cesar Chavez has thrived, employing new members and even creating new businesses.
“It’s grown a lot, and keeps growing. Right now there are maybe eight new faces at every meeting,” said Guillermina Castellanos, La Colectiva’s founder.
And no one is more surprised than the 54-year-old Castellanos. When she started the collective in 2000, it took her eight months to just get a job. Nowadays, new members can get a job the same week they walk into the center, and often the jobs can lead to full-time work.
“I used to have to pawn my stuff at first just so the collective could function,” she said. “I didn’t start getting full-time pay until 2007.”
And then things got better.