DE for march 30

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In the direct engagement for this week, members from Group B should do the following: 

Read through the website for La Colectiva (make sure to click on many of the different links and pages--on the left hand side: read their bill of rights, listen to the profiles in strength and dignity on the gallery page)

Now write some responses to these questions: What is La Colectiva? What strategies/tactics are they using to respond to the problems with domestic labor? How are they using social media/blogs to achieve their goals?

Group B should post their entries by Monday evening. Groups C and D should post comments by Wednesday at noon.  

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La Colectiva is a house cleaning company with a union style. The women that make up La Colectiva are immigrant women who make a living from domestic labor. La Colectiva is organized labor. They call themselves a "worker-run cleaning collective"; demonstrating that the foundation of these domestic workers' organization is made solely of the women who belong to it instead of a traditional company with a hierarchy of laborers and employers. A couple of their primary goals are to empower immigrants and connect them with jobs as well.

From what I saw, there are a few main strategies being used to respond to current problems with domestic labor. One is their use of linguistics. Quite a few of the wording that they used on the site as well as the slogans caught my eye. A few quotations from the site are, "So you can get the peace of mind... (Homepage)." They also state that hiring La Colectiva will let you know, "you are providing a dignified and living wage (Homepage)." Both of these quotes accomplish relatively the same thing. They present an opportunity to the prospective customer to do something good as they are the, "Keepers of Your Sanity (Resources)." I think these quotes are an example of a smart strategy because what I see is a respectful message. There is no, 'you owe us'. Instead, they appeal to customers with a simple explanation of who they are, what they do, prices, and why they do it.

What I found interesting, was the emphasis on a business arrangement. On the resources page, it says that they work towards communication between workers and, "the people who hire them." Even this sentence has the effect of evening the playing field. Focusing on communication is necessary to resolve domestic labor issues. The website also posts a sample agreement so that prospective customers can see exactly what they would be agreeing to. This is in contrast to an individual not given the chance to communicate. Also, overall, the website works to advertise their work, not themselves. Cheap labor, especially among immigrants, as we discussed in class, often has the effect of placing a value on bodies. Laborers are often seen as bodies that are expendable. La Colectiva, on the other hand, markets their cleaning as well as their knowledge of green cleaning products. The group and their work are represented as a whole who are politely and simply stating their rights and abilities.

The website is a great example of using social media. The site is beautifully done, incorporating solid, simple design layout, filled with solid, simple information. There are links that are not overwhelming that are offered to answer more questions as well as allow for a reputable image. There are a number of slogans, which stick, are simple, and easily spread. They discuss their business, their rights, affiliations, and goals all in one place. It is inevitable to see it all as it is all mixed up in a way that does not scream hidden agenda.

One thing I did have an issue with was some of their slogans. One being you can call us, "Your Fairy Godmothers." A lot of the other sayings I thought were great, but this, along with, "If cleanliness is next to godliness then La Colective are angels (About Us)." I think the reason this bothers me is that at first I thought a lot of these were giving a new image, a different way for them to represent themselves. But later, what does a fairy godmother represent? Magical? Make-believe? Out of the picture? While obviously angels is a bit different, at the same time, that phrase; doesn't it then say that we're angels because of how well we clean? Only further pressing in an identity I feel they are trying to escape. I know this is pushing it a bit, just a thought of mine.

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