Clearlake Collective
Organization profile published 1983

Year Published:  1983  
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX2812

Abstract:  CLEARLAKE COLLECTIVE has been doing house repairs and renovations in the city of Toronto for the past seven years.

CLEARKAKE's major concern is to do work while "preserving the human relationships that often are trampled upon in our society when excellence becomes the first priority." The COLLECTIVE defines good work as "that which helps customers feel better about their living space, as that which promotes conservation and which respects the original character of buildings (i.e. avoiding whitepainting)." While doing this, the collective members try to make their work a positive experience instead of just a place to earn money. Accordingly, the COLLECTIVE makes a conscious effort to avoid unhealthy job specialization, sexism, and a hierarchical work structure.

The structure of the CLEARLAKE COLLECTIVE encourages each member to participate fully in all discussions and decisions. At its weekly meeting the COLLECTIVE not only plans jobs and discusses finances but it also uses the opportunity to reflect on some aspect of the group's relationship to society or to practice new work skills.

On the job site there is no boss or supervisor. Instead there is a "rotating job-coordinator." This person is responsible for doing estimates, making sure materials arrive on time and communicating with customers. This task is rotated from job to job to avoid the alienation of specialization - accordingly each COLLECTIVE member has an opporunity to take responsibility. CLEARLAKE believes that such a process "develops trust that everyone is doing a good job, not only for the customer, but for each other....while one person may be the coordinator every other person is encouraged to take initiative, learn new skills and share these with others."

Pay scales within the COLLECTIVE are negotiated according to need. Twice a year, this group meets for a weekend to evaulate its goals.

CLEARLAKE has produced a "Vision Paper", November, 1981. This paper focuses on the COLLECTIVE member's understanding of their position as workers in society.

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