On behalf of the 40,000 child care providers in California represented by Child Care Providers United (CCPU), Patricia Moran, a San Jose based child care provider and member of the CCPU negotiating committee made the following statement as Governor Newsom turned his back on the Child Care providers’ union when the state’s child care system is at its breaking point:
“In 2019, when Governor Newsom signed AB 378 (Limón) into law, my fellow child care providers and I finally had the opportunity to form our union and advocate for the low income families we care for. Today, to my shock and disappointment, he broke the law — a law that he signed! — when he declined to bargain with us on COVID-19 demands that are long overdue.
“My fellow providers, mostly women of color like myself, have kept our doors open throughout this pandemic despite the state effectively cutting our pay even though many of us already take home less than minimum wage. Close to 6,000 of my fellow providers closed their doors last year, leaving more than 60,000 families — nurses, grocery store workers, and food delivery drivers — scrambling for care so that they could get to work the next day and serve their communities. More than 1,000 of us have contracted COVID, as we’ve been forced to pay out of pocket for PPE and have been left googling the best way to keep ourselves and our kids safe after the state failed to provide any resources. And too many of my brothers and sisters have died from this unrelenting disease.
“We did the work the state failed to do and provided the state with a comprehensive proposal that includes: increasing the number of paid COVID-19 closure days, providing greater financial support for the increasing costs associated with facilitating distance learning and operating during COVID-19, and facilitate a more urgent and streamlined access to COVID-19 vaccines, contact tracing and testing. This will help see us out of the pandemic and into an economic recovery supported by subsidized child care providers. But today Gavin Newsom refused to even entertain our proposal, it feels like he is leaving us all alone, fighting just to survive.
“Governor Newsom: the frontline workers who rely on us to provide a quality early childhood education and distance learning support to their children while they go to work every day are now relying on you to come back to the table and bargain in good faith on our COVID-19 proposal.. Child care is critical infrastructure — supporting our economy just like roads and bridges — and if you and legislative leaders can’t support us and instead choose to standby as we disappear completely, our state will never recover from this crisis.”