Local 1000 Pushes to Expand Quality, Affordable Child Care
High cost of child care an economic justice issue
“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality child care more than ever. It’s not a ‘nice-to-have.’ It’s a ‘must-have.’ So it’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”
-President Barack Obama
The lack of affordable, dependable child care is an issue many Local 1000 members know well. When President Obama spoke those words during this year’s State of the Union address, it signaled a shift in the dialogue about child care from a problem for individual families–like rent or car payments–to one at the core of the economic inequality that is paralyzing the country’s growth and stability.
“I’ve been let go from jobs too many times because I couldn’t find child care,” said Local 1000 member Shavone Brown. And, though Brown now has a stable job as a custodian in the state treasurer’s office, her experience of instability and having to rely on extended family for help exemplifies why our chaotic, patchwork child care system affects entire communities.
It’s not just lack of access to care that affects working families; the providers themselves are low-wage workers who work such long hours that their real pay averages just $4.98 an hour.
“We need comprehensive change,” Brown said.
Local 1000 is committed to just that kind of comprehensive change. Our members have joined with a coalition of working-family groups to support a bill that would change the culture of child care in California. Authored by Senator Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, SB 548 has four goals that will give working families better access to the workplace: expanding access to quality care; extending collective bargaining rights to child care workers; establishing a training relationship between the state and providers; and increased parent engagement.
President Obama is right: The time has come to bring child care to the table as a fundamental right in a just society. Local 1000 is demanding economic justice and is building a bright future for families, children, child care workers and the communities they serve.