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‘By Being There For Our Children And Allowing Us To Focus On Our Own Jobs, They Help Support Our Country’s Entire Economy’ - How Child Care Providers ‘Are Finding Their Union Voice’

Published Friday, December 17, 2021
by Pablo Ros/AFSCME News
‘By Being There For Our Children And Allowing Us To Focus On Our Own Jobs, They Help Support Our Country’s Entire Economy’ - How Child Care Providers ‘Are Finding Their Union Voice’

They’re our children’s second family.

Child Care Providers play an indispensable role in our children’s lives.

At day care centers, preschools and in-home or family day cares, they educate our kids from the time they are only a few weeks old until the age of five, preparing them for kindergarten and helping them become well-socialized individuals.

In after-school programs, they help older students with their homework until Mom and Dad clock out or leave the office in the evening, and many run 24-hour operations that serve the needs of families with night-time schedules.

They work hard every day to make their communities better.

By being there for our children and allowing us to focus on our own jobs, they help support our country’s entire economy.

But for far too long, Child Care Providers haven’t been treated as the Essential Workers that they are.

Predominantly Women of Color, they are among the lowest paid Workers in our society.

We have failed to grant them the respect they deserve and the true wages they earn.

As a result, many of them struggle to make ends meet, often relying on public assistance to support their own families.

But now, Child Care Providers are having their moment.

In states across the country, they are organizing together to form strong Unions and raising their voices like never before.

They are demanding higher wages, paid vacation time, benefits such as health care insurance and retirement security, and more.

And they are winning.

Georgina Villegas owns Blossom Kids in El Centro, California.

A mother of three, she decided to open a family child care center after her youngest left for college.

To make sure she offered the highest-quality early childhood education, she went back to school to earn A Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development and Adolescence.

Like many Child Care Providers who serve lower-income families, Villegas is paid directly by the state, which subsidizes such care.

For the past nine years, she has striven to create an environment where children make the most of their creativity and innovation.

But even as she teaches children respect, she has often wished that elected leaders and decision-makers had more respect for providers like her.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Story, Go To: www.afscme.org/about/jobs-we-do/early-childhood-education/union-voice

 

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