Why have providers chosen to join together in SEIU Kids First?
Connecticut Family Child Care Providers who participate in the Care 4 Kids program voted 95% to 5% in December 2011 for SEIU. Together we’ll have a strong voice for child care. Under the Governor’s Executive Order, we can now meet and confer directly wit the state about what we need to improve our profession and to successfully teach and care for young children. But legislation is needed to win full collective bargaining rights.
Will we become state employees?
No, we will continue to be independent business people and control our own business and day-to-day decisions. But under pending legislation we will be able to reach binding agreements with the state over funding, training, and other matters related to our participation in Care4Kids.
How will our union work?
Now that we’ve voted to form our union we can choose our leaders and reach out to all Care 4 Kids providers so their issues and opinions can be addressed when we officially meet with the state.
How can we make sure that we keep our new rights?
The Executive Order gave us the ability to begin meetings with the State. It also established a working group (including family child care providers) to recommend a law giving us full collective bargaining rights. In February, the working group issued a report setting forth a path to codifying those rights. Our next goal is to have legislation passed. Providers will need to call, write, and visit their legislators to make sure the right to negotiate legally binding agreements becomes law.
Will we pay dues? How much will they be? Will everyone have to pay?
Providers will decide who will pay dues and how much. We will only pay dues after we have bargaining rights written into law by the legislature and we vote to approve a contract that we feel is worth paying dues for. Of course, union membership is completely voluntary–but by uniting many, many family child care providers we will have the strongest voice with the state.
If we win improved rates, will fewer children be served by Care 4 Kids?
No. Across the United States, SEIU Kids First providers have been a strong voice for children and their parents. Since organizing their unions, providers have worked with legislators and state officials to expand access for thousands of children and families. In Oregon, providers helped thousands more families afford quality care. Providers in Washington have worked hard to keep parent co-payments low, even in bad budget years. And in Illinois, more providers signed up with the state child care program after rates improved, giving parents more choices.
What improvements have providers in other states been able to win by joining SEIU Kids First?
By joining together, child care providers have been able to improve state-paid rates, so that more experienced child care providers can stay in business and care for young children. Working together, SEIU Kids First providers in Illinois and Washington have won affordable health care to ensure consistent care for children and reliable services for working parents. Illinois and Washington providers also won workforce development improvements, including higher rates if they meet quality standards and get extra training. Even in bad state budget years, providers have won improvements like dedicated provider hotlines that get parent eligibility and payment problems solved quickly and efficiently.