Oakland Workers' Collective

tel: 510-473-6349
Office Hours:
Monday-Thursday 9am-3pm, Friday 9am-1pm

A project of Street Level Health, located at:
3125 E 15th St, Oakland, CA 94601

Note: The OWC offices will be closed Thursday, July 4, and Friday, July 5, 2024 in observance of Independence Day. Thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What geographical area does the Oakland Workers' Collective serve?

We serve all of Oakland. If your project is outside Oakland, we may be able to accommodate you, however you will need to provide transportation or reimburse the worker(s) for the cost of transportation to the project site.

What types of jobs can OWC workers do?

Our members have experience as movers, painters, gardeners, construction workers, set-up workers for events, janitors, and more. If you have a job not included in this list, please give us a call and we’ll try to find someone to suit your needs.

How much does it cost?

The workers have collectively developed a minimum wage starting at $25/hr, and increasing according to the specificity, difficulty, and skill required for the job. Submit a request with details of your project and we will provide you an hourly rate or estimate.

Regular Time vs. Overtime vs. Double Time

For the first 8 hours of work, employers pay a regular hourly rate. After 8 hours of work, employers must pay workers overtime. Overtime is 1.5x the regular hourly rate. For example, if the regular hourly rate for the worker is $25 per hour, overtime pay would be $37.50 per hour. Employers are required to pay double time when employees work more than 12 hours in a work day. Double time is 2x the regular hourly rate. For example, if the regular hourly rate is $25 per hour, workers are paid $50 per hour after the 12th hour of work.

Do I have to hire for a set minimum number of hours?

No. However, any project less than 3 hours will be set at a minimum fixed amount of $75.

What if the job requires specialized skills, tools or vehicles?

We will do our best to find workers with the required equipment and/or skill. Please note that there is an extra fee for use of workers’ tool(s)/vehicle(s). There is an additional $25 flat fee on top of wages if workers need to use their tool(s) to complete the work. There is an additional $75 per round trip fee on top of wages if workers need to use their vehicle to complete the work. This may include carrying material to the job site or dumping material/trash from the jobsite. Please note that this is also considered paid time.

How are workers and employers matched?

OWC will match you to the best worker for your project. When you contact the OWC to request a worker for your project, we ask for details regarding the project. We have an updated list of the active members of the collective with their availability and specialization. We then match you with the next worker from the list who meets your needs. For example, if you need an expert painter, we will find you the next painter waiting for work; we will not match you with the first person on the list who may not specialize in painting. We also try to accommodate preferences regarding English proficiency and age, and employers are welcome to request workers by name. Please keep in mind that quality matches take time and therefore we ask for your patience.

Are your workers qualified?

Yes. Most workers have years of experience in tasks such as yard work, moving, construction, or cleaning. For more complex projects, such as fine carpentry, electricity, and plumbing, we suggest you contact us in advance to ensure you get a qualified worker suitable for the project. It is important to note that the OWC offers job skills training and certification in a variety of vocations to help workers be efficient, safe employees.

What forms of payment do the workers accept?

Our workers do not accept credit cards or personal checks. Please ensure cash payment is available. You are required to pay workers at the end of each workday regardless of project length.

How much of the pay goes to the worker?

100%. All of your payment will go to the worker. The Oakland Workers’ Collective does not charge for its employment linkage, as it is simply a vehicle for retention in our Immigrants Rights and Empowerment work.

Am I liable if a worker is injured while working at my residence?

California law requires a homeowner’s insurance policy to provide worker’s compensation coverage for injuries incurred by a “residential employee” injured during their course of employment by the homeowner. A “residential employee” is someone who has earned more than $100 during the preceding 90 days. Most homeowner’s policies also include coverage for personal liability and medical payments to others as a result of injury while on your property; however, you should contact the provider of your homeowner’s insurance policy for more information. Finally, as in all situations when you invite a guest onto your property, make certain that the environment is safe and you are not consciously putting someone into a dangerous position.

What are my responsibilities as an employer at the worksite?

As an employer at the worksite, you are required to provide workers with access to a restroom, rest break, and lunch break. Workers are entitled to a 10 minute break after 4 hours of work and a 30 minute lunch break before the 5th hour of work.

Am I required to provide lunch?

You are required to provide a 30 minute lunch break before the 5th hour of work. However, providing lunch is entirely optional.

What if I don’t speak Spanish?

No problem! OWC employment specialists are available to assist you with translation when workers are hired. You can also call us during the project to ask for interpretation over the phone (as staff capacity permits). We are here to make the experience work for you, and make hiring a practice you are likely to repeat.

What if I'm not satisfied with the job once it's completed?

We value your feedback and would like to hear about your experience. We will relay your feedback to the collective members. We are constantly trying to improve our service. Click here to provide feedback.

Do the workers accept gratuities?

Yes, but gratuities are strictly optional. They are always appreciated, but not expected.