231368 Green job creation and social justice: The Vida Verde Brazilian women housecleaning co-op

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

David M. Gute, PhD, MPH , Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Heloisa Galvao, MS , Brazilian Women's Group, Allston, MA
The Vida Verde Women's Co-Operative (Co-Op) was launched in December of 2006 by the Brazilian Women's Group (BWG) with the main purpose of organizing Brazilian immigrant house cleaners to combat the occupational and environmental dangers posed by traditional toxic cleaning materials and to alleviate the exploitation of workers. The Vida Verde Co-op is a worker owned, democratically run enterprise, which engages 15 women and one man to become educated about the dangers of toxic chemical exposure obtain the skills to make safe cleaning products and gain employment opportunities that are free from the use of toxic chemicals. The Co-Op fosters its members as stewards of the environment by engaging them as leaders and partners of the enterprise, and involving them in conducting outreach and educating clients and their families as well as other members of the Brazilian community to share this critical information about the need to reduce the use of toxic cleaning products. The Co-Op was also formed to address issues of social justice within the membership of the organization. We believe the Co-Op to be an effective public health intervention aimed at the empowerment and support of its members and the broader community that it serves. Qualitative evidence of the positive trajectory of the Co-Op will be presented and discussed.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Attendees will be able to explain the utility of the formation of a Cooperative as a viable public health intervention. 2. Attendees will be able to describe how social justice was advanced in the system of governance and operational characteristics of the Cooperative.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have served as the Principal Investigator of the grant from the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health which provided core support for the formation of the Vida Verde Co-Operative.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.