From October 2015 to April 2016, I provided care for two children through the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). For over 7 months, I provided care while dealing with continuous payment issues. My payments were late or sometimes I didn’t get paid at all for weeks at a time. I would follow up with the children’s case worker and the payment department but nothing was resolved. By April 2016, the situation reached its boiling point. While I was still providing care, DCFS owed me 3 months of pay for 2 children. Imagine working for three months and not being paid for work you already did?! I reached out to DCFS on numerous occasions but I continued to be ignored.

From the Spring of 2016 to the Fall of 2017, I called numerous times and sent letters to the agency to no avail. It was at that time that I decided to consult with an attorney. The response from the attorney’s office was that I should leave the situation as is. Due to feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, I decided to reach out to our union. Working in conjunction with my union organizer, we reached out to DCFS once again and demanded the back pay I had earned long ago. After weeks of back and forth, including getting the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors involved, I was able to get thousands of dollars of back pay DCFS owed me by working together with our union!

The payment I’d lost hope of ever getting was finally in my hands! Nothing has proven to me the strength of our unity more than this momentous experience. At the end of the day, I am not only happy that I was able to get my money back, I also learned the importance of speaking out and being part of our union. As providers, we do have the collective power to fight and change the day-to-day issues we face in our profession.