Friday, January 20, 2012

Home Child Care Providers Vote Union

In an overwhelming yes vote, over 4,000 home child care providers have chosen union recognition. The providers are part of Connecitcut's Care-4-Kids program of the Department of Social Services.

The vote is the result of a several year campaign. House visits revealed that home child care providers have common problems that hamper their ability to provide the best possible early learning for the children they serve. In a secret ballot election, the home-based providers voted 1,603 to 88 for representation by CSEA/SEIU Local 2001.

"Standing together, child care providers will have a strong voice for the things we need to provide quality care," said Queen Freelove, a 20-year provider of day and after-school care in New Haven. "In this economy, parents are working longer hours to support their families and relying on child care providers for things like homework help after school. Parents and children will both benefit when we can talk to the state about improving the program," Freelove said.

Connecticut's in-home child care workers join family providers in 15 states who gained official standing to seek improvements in early learning through their unions. By having a voice, providers can help stabilize the child care workforce, expand family access, and work to retain experienced, trained child care providers, raising the quality of early learning.

The vote was possible because Governor Danell P. Malloy issued two executive orders allowing home health care and home child care providers to vote on representation. This aroused the ire of the Republicans and the right-wing. A concerted campaign by We the People of Connecticut, a Tea Party group, calling the orders unconstitutional, was unsuccessful in stopping the effort. Attempts in other states to stop home care workers from unionizing, including an attempted injunction in Minnesota, have been unsuccessful.

A working group convened by Malloy has a February deadline to prepare recommendations on how to structure a relationship between the state and the union representing the providers.

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