Close to 200 Child Care Providers United (CCPU) members and dozens of advocates and parents were joined by Senator Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) as they marched to the state Capitol and demanded that Governor Newsom sit down at the bargaining table and raise wages for child care providers.
Weeks of negotiations have passed without the state offering any substantial proposals to providers that acknowledge the poverty conditions providers are experiencing nor the crucial role these workers play in California’s economy. Although the Newsom Administration has expressed a commitment to historic new investments in child care, these investments are meaningless without immediate action to ensure a stable child care workforce.
Max Arias, Chairperson of CCPU, opened the press conference with a call for action, saying, “the Governor claims to care about early learning and care. Indeed, we agree that there should be more investment in early childhood education, but his proposal is incomplete and inequitable. It does not include 4-year-old children who are enrolled in family child care provider programs. And what about our youngest children? What about 0-3-year-olds? There is no additional investment in them. What about working parents who work the night shift? It’s family child care providers who open their doors to care for their children. Yet, they are completely ignored in the Governor’s plan.”
“In 2019, I authored AB 378, allowing childcare workers to participate in collective bargaining. Right now, our entire child care system is at risk,” said Senator Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara).“As costs for providers continue to skyrocket, thousands have been forced to close. By compensating providers for what they deserve and invest in their skills, we can improve availability and resources, making it possible for more families to access quality, affordable child care right in their communities.”
Nancy Harvey, a child care provider in Oakland, provided insight into the bargaining process with the state, “the vision of equity, the presence of justice, the stoppage of economic deprivation: these were the kinds of counters that CCPU was anticipating on receiving from the State of California. Unfortunately, the State has fallen short on repairing the mistreatment and neglect that it has knowingly perpetuated for decades within the workforce of the very people, predominantly Black and Brown women, who keep California working.”
“Every time one of our providers closes their doors, up to 14 families lose their ability to work. Some scramble to find backup care, and others lose their ability to work altogether,” explained Johanna Puno Hester, Vice Chairperson of CCPU. “If we want to get this state back on track, we can’t afford to lose even one more provider. Child care providers are the workers that make all work possible. California needs to start giving them the respect they deserve. That means working with us at the bargaining table for higher rates. Right now. It’s time for all of us to come together in solidarity: providers, parents, our labor siblings, our allies in child care and Early Childhood Education, legislators, and all Californians.”
Charlotte Neal, a child care provider in Sacramento, closed out the press conference with a pointed message for Governor Newsom, “the governor has been talking about all this money the state is going to put into child care. I have news for you, Governor Newsom: You can invest all the money in the world into the child care system, but if you don’t invest in the people who actually provide the care, you are throwing all that money away. You want to talk about improving the child care system? The “system” doesn’t care for California’s children, we do. The governor has a choice to make right now: He can either choose to pay family child care providers more, or he can watch as more and more of us are forced to close down.”
CCPU has spent the past year preparing and proposing solutions to the state that will set up California’s child care infrastructure to lead the nation in providing the best possible early childhood care. It’s now up to the state to sit down, listen, and act to support California’s child care system.
You can view the entire press conference here.