Building Bridges For Economic Justice

Brooklyn, N YJune 25, 2012, Female day laborers and founding members of Apple Eco-Cleaning Cooperative joined for first time the 2012 National Worker Cooperative Conference in Boston, Massachusetts to share strategies and learn new tools for organizing and building capacity of democratic workplaces among low-wage immigrant workers.

Since 2010, the Worker’s Justice Project (WJP) has been committed to support the development of innovative grassroots economic organizing model like Apple Eco-Cleaning to help bridge the disconnect between two starkly different worlds: that of economically and culturally marginalized day laborers, and the world of New York City’s more affluent social groups with sophisticated needs for high-quality services.

Apple Eco-Cleaning is a worker-owned house cleaning cooperative that was born out of an unique female day laborer street corner in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with support from the Worker’s Justice Project. Since its first year of operation, the cooperative has generated over $62,652 in revenues. This means that working mothers who are part of the cooperative can afford to take maternity leave, that many of our members have job security for the first time in their lives, and can take action on their own behalf for economic and social change. “The cooperative has allowed me to be in charge of my own future and help more women at the street corner,” said Catalina Basurto, Cooperative Member.

The 2012 National Worker Cooperative Conference represented an opportunity for us, low-wage immigrant women who make up a small percentage of small business owners already, to connect to other immigrant led cooperatives, discuss the state of cooperatives among low-wage immigrant workers, new initiatives, and potential obstacles to forging worker democracy and economic control in our communities.

“I truly found value on sharing experiences and building the cooperative movement in the US through working-class solidarity. Our participation as a cooperative and low-wage immigrant women strengthened the organizing potential of more immigrant-led worker cooperative,” Yadira Sanchez, Cooperative Developer and Workers Rights Organizer of WJP.