Male day laborers are struggling, but their female counterparts in La Colectiva are cleaning up
 Raquel Botello, a recent immigrant from Guadalajara, says finding La Colectiva is the best thing that’s happened to her in the U.S. Photo by  Alison Yin

Raquel Botello, a recent immigrant from Guadalajara, says finding La Colectiva is the best thing that’s happened to her in the U.S. Photo by Alison Yin

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.

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Mason Jeffrys